Jamie Anderson wins women's slopestyle gold
KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia – Jamie Anderson has been reading "The Power of Now" throughout the season, taking the message to heart as she tried to focus on the current moment rather than the looming pressure of the Olympics.
After winning gold at the Sochi Games, the American can enjoy every second of the now she's put off thinking about this year. Anderson won the women's snowboard slopestyle event at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park on Sunday, giving the U.S. a gold-medal sweep after Sage Kotsenburg won the men's final on Saturday.
"I'm so happy," she shouted as she hugged her coach. "It was fricken' mind blowing. What a day."
The South Lake Tahoe, Calif., native entered the event as a heavy favorite to win gold, something that undoubtedly added pressure throughout the year. In the past three seasons, she has now finished first or second in 20 of 24 events she has entered.
But a second-place finish at the X Games after a grueling five-week qualification process required her to regain some balance.
"I was really passionate and determined to come out here and do my best and do everything I can to be my strongest and most grounded, calm self, even with the hype of everything on the outside world," she said. "It just feels out of control. I can't even explain what I'm processing right now."
Anderson landed two 720s in her second run to score a 95.25, putting her in the lead by almost three points with two riders to go. She was guaranteed a medal at that point, but did not clinch gold until both remaining riders fell on their final runs.
When she did, a celebration erupted from her 11 family members here. Anderson's parents, adopted grandmother, niece and six of her seven siblings all made the trip to Russia.
On Sunday, the journey from their cruise ship to the mountain venue took two buses, a train, a gondola and 3.5 hours. It was worth it.
"It's unbelievable," said Joey Anderson, her father. "When she landed the last jump, I knew that was it."
"It felt like her moment," said Lauren Anderson, her mother. "That she pulled that off with that kind of pressure, it felt like she earned it."
Although slopestyle is new this year, Anderson's hopes of winning a gold medal are not. While she's a slopestyle rider, she tried to make the halfpipe team in 2010. She says she didn't totally commit for fear of not making it.
But she went to Vancouver as a spectator and had a blast. When slopestyle was added to the Olympic program in 2011, this became her goal.
"I think it means everything," said her mother. "She wanted the Olympics."