Swiss snowboarder Iouri Podladtchikov will not be able to defend the halfpipe gold medal he won at Sochi.
The 29-year-old announced on Friday that he has not recovered from a head injury sustained at the Winter X-Games in Aspen last month.
An MRI scan revealed that ‘iPod’ had suffered a serious head trauma with a haemorrhage.
“When I heard this diagnosis, it was clear for me that I had suffered a serious injury and I would be taking a very big risk to compete at the Olympic Games,” explained Podlatchikov.
Podladtchikov suffered the injury at the X-Games on January 28th, crashing on his final trick during his second run in the halfpipe.
After being stretchered off the course, the Swiss was initially diagnosed with a nasal fracture.
The snowboarder then took advice from a number of medical experts and undertook numerous tests before reaching his decision.
“After all the tests that I had in the last two weeks – including my first training (in PyeongChang) on Friday – I am able to say with certainty that participation in the Olympics would not be prudent and responsible,” he added.
Podladtchikov disclosed that a second MRI scan showed that, although his condition had improved, it was not yet “stable enough to evolve to the necessary level for this kind of competition.”
Podladtchikov had endured a tough run with injuries in the build-up to PyeongChang, but was approaching something like his best form of late.
The Russian-born rider won the FIS World Cup halfpipe event held in Laax, in his native Switzerland on January 20th.
He is the second big-name casualty at PyeongChang in as many days.
British snowboarder Katie Ormerod – well fancied for the big air contest – was ruled out after fracturing her heel in a training run.
Canada’s slopestyle world champion Laurie Blouin is a serious doubt after a heavy fall in Friday qualifying.
Blouin was stretchered off the course but she has returned to the Athletes’ Village after being taken to hospital as a precaution.
Podladtchikov will now return home to Switzerland on Saturday.