By Doug Williams | Feb. 02, 2018, 12:59 p.m. (ET)
 

 

Getting to the top, and then staying there, takes more than hard work. My Focus, presented by Milk Life, tells the stories of one area that 24 athletes are honing in on in their quest to stand atop the podium at the next Olympic or Paralympic Games.

Snowboarder Jamie Anderson grew up in South Lake Tahoe, California, but these days she also has a home in Breckenridge, Colorado, and feels perfectly at ease there.

After spending so much time renting condos while competing in Breckenridge on the Dew Tour, Anderson decided to buy property there to go with the place she has by Lake Tahoe. Now, she enjoys getting the chance to simply spend time in the town and absorb its atmosphere. She relishes the opportunities to eat at her favorite organic-food restaurant there, shop at a nearby health food store and visit friends at yoga studios.

So it’s no surprise that Anderson — who won the gold medal in the Olympic debut of slopestyle snowboarding at Sochi in 2014 — says that “overall well-being” is her primary focus for staying physically and mentally healthy and at the top of the snowboard world.

Recently, she talked about that focus while doing a video shoot at her Breckenridge home, where she also demonstrated some yoga and talked about the importance of meditation to her happiness and success.

“I’ve been working on this for many years,” said Anderson. “The more I take care and practice, the better I feel overall.”

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Anderson is just 27, yet has a long list of accomplishments on and off the slopes. Along with winning Olympic gold she’s twice finished first overall in the world cup standings for slopestyle (2016 and 2017). She’s the most decorated woman in X Games history with 15 medals (five golds, seven silvers, three bronzes). She was on NBC’s “Celebrity Apprentice” and has appeared on national magazine covers. In 2013, she founded the Jamie Anderson Foundation to help kids in their athletic pursuits while encouraging them to be leaders in their communities and for environmental causes.

But she knows the foundation of everything she does is her performance as a snowboarder, so she pays attention to her overall health so she can compete at her peak.

“It’s vital to my health and performance,” she said.

How does she do it?

“By eating healthy,” she says. “Self-care, positive energy.”

She eats a lot of vegetables and tries to stick to a plant-based diet when she’s at home. But when she’s traveling and competing during the season, she’ll take a broader approach and eat small amounts of meat and cheese.

This attention to her overall well-being is nothing new. She’s been making time for herself — she even likes the calm that comes with crocheting — and paying particular attention to her diet for years, and can feel the benefits when she does.

“If I’m not feeling well, I can’t perform well,” she says.

Anderson, who began snowboarding at age 9, also has a meditation ritual before a big run that helps clear her mind. As part of it, she’ll sometimes hug a tree or do yoga poses.

Though she’s a risk-taker with a snowboard — with terrific athleticism and the ability to pull of her signature “cab 7” trick — her quest for overall health has helped her foster a positive outlook that aids in maintaining an even keel.

“I have so much gratitude,” she once said. “I think the older I get, the more I appreciate the amazing life I have and all the blessings and opportunities that have come my way.”

As Anderson approaches her second Olympics in February, she again sits atop the snowboarding world, with recent X Games gold and bronze medals, plus three podiums in her sport’s five Olympic qualifying events that took place over the course of a year.

The success helped her easily become the first U.S. woman to make the joint slopestyle/big air team – and also the first Olympic gold medalist on the 2018 U.S. Olympic Team.

Doug Williams covered three Olympic Games for two Southern California newspapers and was the Olympic editor for the San Diego Union-Tribune. He has written for TeamUSA.org since 2011 as a freelance contributor on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.