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Shaun White out of Winter X Games

Jan 22, 2014, 3:00 PM EDT

Shaun White Getty Images

Shaun White has pulled out of the Winter X Games to prepare for the Winter Olympics.

White said two weeks ago he was unlikely to compete in the Aspen, Colo., event. ESPN, which reported White changed his mind and was going to compete on Tuesday, said on Wednesday White will sit out.

“I’ve been competing in the X Games since I was 13 years old, they are a huge part of why I am where I am and they are vital to the sport,” White said, according to ESPN.com. “Unfortunately, when I arrived at the mountain and looked over the schedule, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to complete the kind of training I know I need in order to prepare for Sochi. It’s an incredibly tough decision for me and it’s not something I take lightly.”

White will miss a Winter X Games for the first time this millennium, depriving fans of a pre-Olympic showdown with Swiss Iouri Podladtchikov and Japan’s Ayumu Hirano in halfpipe and Mark McMorris of Canada in slopestyle.

White is an eight-time X Games halfpipe champion and five-time slopestyle champion in addition to a two-time Olympic gold medalist.

He qualified for the U.S. Olympic Team in halfpipe and slopestyle last weekend in Mammoth Mountain, Calif.

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