Updated: 02/08/2014 02:57 | By Agence France-Presse

Palm pilot Johnstone takes inside track against White

Australia's former halfpipe world champion Nate Johnstone has been turning to snowboarding superstar Shaun White's own coach in his bid to upset the American at the Winter Olympics.


Palm pilot Johnstone takes inside track against White

Austria's Nathan Johnstone competes at the Snowboard World Cup Halfpipe Test Event at the Snowboard and Freestyle Center in Rosa Khutor near the Black Sea resort of Sochi, on February 13, 2013 - by Natalia Kolesnikova

Johnstone won gold at the 2011 World Championships, but White is the undisputed dominant force in halfpipe and the double defending Olympic champion.

White is also a 13-time Winter X-Games gold medallist so Johnstone went to Mammoth, California, to train with the American's coach Bud Keene during his build-up to the Olympics.

"Bud gave us all these palm cards with little inspirational notes on them, so if you ever feel off you can just pick one up and read it. It just gives you a little boost," said Johnstone.

"It was a really awesome experience training with Bud, he's done extremely well with Shaun over the years.

"He definitely knows a thing or two about sport. I took a lot from it, he's really good at explaining things and just helping you out at being mentally strong and feeling good through your events."

While Johnstone is hoping to beat White, he was supportive of his rival's stance in withdrawing from the slopestyle competition due to concerns over the safety of the course and after he had suffered slight wrist and ankle injuries in a training fall on Tuesday. 

White came under fire on social media and Canadian rivals Maxence Parrot and Sebastien Toutant even mocked him, suggesting he was really pulling out because he knew he wouldn't win.

"I've seen it did pop up on social media, it would've been an extremely tough decision for him to make," said Johnstone.

"I know he definitely wanted to compete in slopestyle, the fallout for him is a huge deal.

"I don't really know what happened (but) he's still a great competitor. I know hes going to give everything he's got in the halfpipe now, which might make it a little tough for us.

"But he had to do what he had to do. I think it was a bit harsh. The general public did see it was taking another spot away from an American that could have competed, but the thing is he still earned his spot. He did all the competitions and earned that fair and square.

"It's just unfortunate he had an accident that kind of put him out.

"He had to do what he had to do. The public was being pretty rough on him, some of the comments were pretty full on but he's resting up and he's going to be firing for halfpipe, so it's going to be exciting."

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