By On February 13th, 2018

Defending gold medalist backs out of Olympics after head injury

Source: James Lang/USA TODAY Sports

The Pyeongchang Winter Olympics has many world champions defending their titles across a wide range of sports this week, but one defending gold medalist won’t be seen. Olympic halfpipe champion Iouri Podladtchikov decided he wouldn’t be competing over the weekend, citing the effects of a recent head injury.

“My brain needs time to recover from the bruises and I will not be able to compete,” he wrote in a tweet posted Saturday.

The snowboarder, nicknamed I-Pod, has been seen practicing over the weekend. However, he says something didn’t feel quite right.

“After all the tests that I have had on the way to the present day in the last two weeks ― including my first practice this Friday ― I can say for sure that starting and participating in the Olympic Games is in no way safe or responsible,” he said in a statement.

The men’s halfpipe event runs from Tuesday to Wednesday.

The Swiss champion won his Olympic medal in men’s halfpipe at the 2014 Sochi games. He seemed poised to provide a challenge to Shaun White’s attempt to redeem himself for a lackluster 2014 performance, but a hard fall during the X Games in Aspen, Colorado, appears to have derailed his plans.


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