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“It’s a little intense, a little challenging,” said American rider Jamie Anderson, a gold-medal favorite on the women’s side. “The jumps are still a little weird. I’m having a questionable time getting used to them.”

While the other riders might breathe a little easier knowing one of their main competitors is out of the way, White understands his place in the sport and the gravity of his decision.

“Not one I take lightly,” he said. “I know how much effort everyone has put into holding the slopestyle event for the first time in Olympic history — a history I had planned on being part of.”