U.S. claims ownership of slopestyle podium
SOCHI, Russia — She is a new-age, yoga-loving, mantra-chanting snowboarder who came to the Olympics with a "medicine bundle" in her backpack and an 80-something "spirit grandma" originally from Bavaria along for the ride.
Jamie Anderson came to Russia armed with support and will leave with a precious object to put alongside her mantra beads and clear quartz power stone.
An Olympic gold medal.
Anderson completed a weekend sweep for the United States in the new slopestyle event, winning the women's competition Sunday with an all-out performance in the second run, scoring 95.25, a run marked by clean landings. Enni Rukajarvi from Finland took the silver (92.50) and Jenny Jones of Britain the bronze (87.25), the first Olympic medal for her country on snow.
Jones, at 33 the oldest competitor in the final, was once a maid at a ski chalet. Wimbledon champion Andy Murray even joked, via Twitter, after her second run: "Jenny Jones! Is it wrong to hope everyone left falls?"
With Anderson's victory coming a day after Sage Kotsenburg took gold on the men's side, clearly the United States has claimed ownership of the slopestyle podium.
It could not have been a better script for U.S. snowboarding.
"Am I dreaming? Are you people real?" said Bill Enos, the U.S. slopestyle coach.
He touched the arm of a reporter in the mixed zone, saying: "Yes, oh, everyone here is real."
The two American gold medalists are larger-than-life figures, almost an understatement if you spend time around them. Kotsenburg sprinkles his conversation with "sick" and "stoked," and the 23-year-old Anderson, who is one of eight children, is more likely to sprinkle the room with sacred energy and inspirational messages.
"She's a bit of a hippie from Tahoe," Jones said.
Anderson was asked if she dealt with the stress of the last 24 hours by listening to music, lighting candles or meditating.
"All of the above. I was just talking about that," she said. "Last night, I was so nervous. I couldn't even eat. I was trying to calm down. Put on some meditation music, burn some sage. Got the candles going. Just trying to do a little bit of yoga."
Supporting Anderson at the Olympics were her five sisters, brother, parents and her "spirit grandma." The latter figure came into Anderson's life when she moved into her South Lake Tahoe condominium, and Anderson said the woman didn't like her at first. The spiritual Anderson won her over.
"We've really connected," Anderson said. "She didn't have any kids. Her husband passed away quite a few years ago, so we'll hang out, have dinner, go for walks.
"She told me she's coming to the Olympics, and she's in her mid-80s. She made it here all the way."
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