KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia - Jamie Anderson is used to being on top of the world as a snowboarder, both literally and figuratively.
True to form, the 23-year-old soared to the top of the medal stand, winning the first-ever Olympic women’s slopestyle snowboard competition Sunday at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park.
“Oh my gosh, it’s mind-blowing,” said Anderson. “There was so much anticipation leading up to this event, and it’s great to be able to calm your mind, really believe, and have that trust and faith that you are capable of doing what you want to do.”
The South Lake Tahoe, Calif., native was favored to win the event, but with a first-run score of 80.75, she found herself out of the top three heading into the final run.
Anderson is a proponent for living in the now. “This is your moment,” is one of her mantras.
She captured the moment, putting together a flawless second run to take the lead with a 95.25, with only two competitors remaining. The rest is Olympic history.
Anderson’s win completed the U.S. gold-medal sweep in slopestyle after Sage Kotsenburg won the men’s final on Saturday. The two become the fourth and fifth U.S. Olympians in history to claim the first gold medal at an Olympic Winter Games and Team USA’s first Olympic champions in Sochi.
“Especially after watching Sage take the gold yesterday, I was extra inspired to just come out here and do my best,” Anderson said.
Unlike Kotsenburg, who posted the winning score on his initial attempt, Anderson had a lot more riding on her second run. In need of an 87.25 to get back into podium position, she delivered her best run of the week.
“I don’t know how it happened,” Anderson said. “I was so impressed with all the girls riding, but I was just trying to focus on the run I chose to do, really visualizing it, seeing it to the end and knowing that I was going to land everything perfect and try do it with as much style as possible. The rest was out of my hands. I just wanted to do what I was capable of doing.”
Also representing the U.S., Karly Shorr scored a 75.00 to finish sixth – her best since 2011.
“It was a dream,” Shorr said of her Olympic experience.
The youngest finalist to enter Sunday’s competition, the 19-year-old Shorr was thrilled to see one of her role models win Olympic gold.
“It’s so cool to see her on that podium today,” Shorr said. “I’m so happy for her, and honestly, I was so nervous watching her run because I just want her to do well and she deserves it so much. She works so hard.”
Team USA’s Jessika Jenson and Ty Walker just missed the cut for finals, finishing 13th and 14th overall. Walker overcame an ankle injury to score a 66.00 after managing a 1.00 in the qualifying round. Heading into Sunday’s final, she predicted that Anderson would win.
“If I had to choose, I’d say Jamie’s going to take the top spot,” Walker said after her run. “But I don’t want to jinx anyone.”
Walker didn’t jinx Anderson. Instead, she may have been a good luck charm as Anderson proved her prognostication correct.
“I’m so happy,” Anderson said. “It was mind-blowing. What a day.”