If Kevin Pearce wasn't going to be able to take on icon Shaun White, well, then, his close friend and snowboarding colleague Danny Davis planned on shouldering the assignment.
Now, Davis, like Pearce, won't be competing at the Winter Olympics next month in Vancouver. Like Pearce, Davis is injured and also in a hospital in Utah.
Davis was scheduled to have surgery Monday night to repair his fractured vertebrae, having suffered the injury in a non-snowboarding accident early Sunday morning. He will miss the rest of the 2010 season, according to his Facebook page.
The 21-year-old who grew up in Michigan was involved in an ATV accident, according to the Park Record (Utah), which said he and a friend were going down a driveway when they hit a closed gate. News reports indicated he was found unconscious.
Mike Jankowski, the U.S. snowboarding head halfpipe coach, declined to comment when reached by phone Monday, referring questions to a Davis representative.
"Doctors remain positive Danny will make a full recovery," said an update on the Danny Davis Pro Snowboarder Facebook page.
This accident happened less than two weeks after Davis upset White at an Olympic qualifying event in Mammoth, pulling off a record-setting halfpipe run. Davis landed an unprecedented three double corks.
Davis stood in the finish area holding a sign, saying: "Pearce Be With You."
"It was more just difficult not to have him [Pearce] out there riding with us," Davis said in an interview with The Times minutes after the win at Mammoth. "I know he wants us to just get back to our thing. And he'd be [upset] if we sat on the couch and we were like, 'I can't snowboard anymore. I feel [bad] about it.' He'd want us out there doing our things."
Pearce had been one of the few snowboarders to beat White in head-to-head competition. Pearce suffered a serious head injury Dec. 31 in Park City, Utah, in training, attempting to land a double cork.
About two weeks ago, Pearce was upgraded from critical to serious condition, and has been responding to therapy, according to his brothers.
Pearce, along with Davis, had been heavily favored to make the Olympic team. The remaining two Olympic qualifying events are Friday and Saturday, both at Park City.