|ESPN.com: Snowboarding||[Print without images]|
Promising young snowboarder and a medal favorite for X Games Tignes Ayumu Hirano pulled out of the SuperPipe competition on Sunday because he has the flu and cannot travel from his home country of Japan to France.
"With regret, we are sad to say that Ayumu will not be able to compete at this year's X Games in Tignes. MuMu came down with a severe case of the flu shortly after his last event in Norway and is at home in Japan with his family recuperating," said Hirano's agent Carl Harris, of Ookii Co Athlete Management and Marketing.
"With the Japan National Championships just around the corner, an event that can solidify an athlete's participation in the next Olympics, we all felt it best for the little guy to take a break and recharge before this contest. It has been a long, busy and successful season for MuMu and we're looking forward to seeing everyone again soon," he added.
At only 14-years-old, Hirano has become one of the most exciting young snowboarders in the pipe this competition season by making the podium in every contest he entered and earning top season honors in the World Snowboard Tour halfpipe. He kicked off the season by winning the Burton High Fives halfpipe, then notched a silver medal at X Games Aspen 2013 losing to Shaun White, followed by another first-place win at the Burton European Open two weeks later. At the Burton U.S. Open he finished second to White again, then finished third at the Arctic Challenge earlier this month.