Anderson battles conditions for 5th X Games gold
Jamie Anderson was able to put aside the craziness of X Games Aspen on Friday, push a challenging start to her day out of her mind and refocus to win her fifth gold medal in snowboard slopestyle.
“That was crazy. Definitely tapping into the perseverance, rising above the chaos,” Anderson said after receiving her gold medal, the 14th X Games medal of her career. “It’s hard out here sometimes.”
Conditions were not ideal Friday morning, as fresh snow overnight caused the event to be postponed by two hours and slowed down the slopestyle course considerably.
But a tough delay window and trouble finding speed weren’t the only obstacles Anderson had to overcome. She took a hard fall on her first run after going big on a frontside 720, slamming her face into the snow after the second jump. She had a cut on the bridge of her nose and some shaken nerves.
“I was feeling pretty shaken up,” Anderson said, “definitely had to take a moment at the top to kind of clear that BS. Crashing sucks.”
She was able to come back on her second run and stomp all her tricks, earning her a 94.00 from the judges, which was enough to put her in first place and keep her there for the remainder of the competition.
Julia Marino, the defending X Games slopestyle gold medalist from Connecticut, found her rhythm early on in the competition and seemed to excel where other competitors were struggling. Marino dropped in after Anderson and scored a 90.00 on her first run.
Marino improved on her second run with a 92.00 and ended up taking home the silver medal. Enni Rukajarvi from Finland rounded out the podium, finishing third.
Due to course conditions and an injury, what started as an eight-rider field was reduced to five. Anna Gasser from Austria and Silje Norendal from Norway pulled out of the competition, citing poor conditions.
Also absent from the contest was U.S. Olympian Hailey Langland, who was forced to withdraw from the contest due to bruised heels she suffered on her last practice run of the morning. Langland, who will compete with Anderson and Marino in South Korea in slopestyle (Feb. 12) and the debut of big air (Feb. 23), got a piggyback ride down to the bottom of the course Friday from X Games host Jack Mitrani.
Anderson and Marino expressed their disappointment that some of the competitors felt the need to drop out because of the conditions.
“I know that conditions are hard,” Anderson said, “but we’re in a winter sport.”