Anderson repeats in women’s slopestyle
Aspen, CO Colorado
ASPEN “In the absence of Janna Meyen, 17-year-old Jamie Anderson has become the new queen of snowboard slopestyle at the Winter X Games.
The South Lake Tahoe, Calif., native defended her gold medal Saturday with a smooth, stylish second run that bumped Austria’s Claudia Fliri to second and left Whistler, British Columbia’s Spencer O’Brien with the bronze.
Anderson failed to cleanly land a 720 off the final jump during her first run, but nailed the trick on the second go-round to vault into the lead with a score of 90.66.
It was only the second time Anderson had ever landed the trick clean ” the first coming in her final practice run of the morning. Anderson then watched from the bottom as Cheryl Maas of the Netherlands ” the top qualifier out of Friday’s elimination round ” took the final run of the day. When Maas fell coming off the course’s first jump, Anderson began celebrating her second gold in as many years.
“I was super nervous because I fell the first run, and I pretty much had to land it or I was going to get last or something,” said Anderson, who made Winter X history last year when she became the youngest competitor to win a gold medal, at 16. “I wasn’t even close the first run. … I went for it and I think I just went off the lip a little too slow and I was just a little too short, so it was really hard to land and I blew up. The second run, I had the guys help me out with some wax and then I was going really fast and I just went for it.”
Fliri staked herself out to the early lead with a clean 85.66 first run, then upped the ante on her second, throwing three straight 540s for an 86.33.
Anderson was next on course, and with the pressure squarely on her shoulders, didn’t flinch. She opened with a stylish tail slide on the course’s opening up-flat-down box, threw a 360 over the first kicker, then cleanly cleared the 60-foot gap jump with a smooth 180.
Then she loaded up for the 720 and stomped the trick cleanly.
Saturday’s podium had a decidedly youthful feel to it with first-time medalists Fliri (23) and O’Brien (19) and the 17-year-old Anderson. Great Britain’s Jenny Jones, 27, was fourth (72) and Whistler, British Columbia’s Marie-France Roy, 23, rounded out the top five (68.33).
Meyen, 30, who won four slopestyle golds between 2003 and 2006, didn’t compete at Buttermilk in 2007, and failed to make the final cut of 10 in Friday’s elimination round. Tara Dakides, 32, a three-time slopestyle gold medalist who also has one silver, also failed to make the cut.
“I think that those girls definitely have a huge presence still, but there’s a lot of girls coming up who are doing really good things and are going to challenge Jana and Tara to ride harder and better,” said O’Brien, whose best career result before Saturday was a silver medal at last year’s U.S. Open at Stratton, Vt.
“There’s so many good girls out there, but sometimes they don’t do good in the contests and nobody knows them,” Anderson added. “I think it’s awesome to have a whole different crew of girls in the finals and different girls on the podium. I was here last year, but these girls weren’t and I’m so stoked for them. It’s cool to see new girls coming out and getting their shred on.”
O’Brien’s bronze didn’t come without some adversity. During practice Wednesday she overshot the course’s final jump ” a 68-foot monster dubbed the “money booter” “and crashed hard, snapping the nose of her snowboard and cracking her helmet. She shook off a slight concussion to compete Saturday.
“I was really intimidated by the last jump, and I’m just really stoked that I was able to come back,” she said.
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Vail and Beaver Creek resorts Senior Communications Manager John Plack said the company agrees with the state’s assessment that the ski industry must be out-front in its approach to ensure a safe and successful season in Colorado.