Jamie Anderson Wins First-Ever Women's Olympic Slopestyle Gold; Jones Takes Bronze

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Jamie Anderson knows how to play it cool. She’s not one to get too high or too low or let the weight of a moment impact how she rides. On the biggest stage for snowboarding, she knew how to withstand the drastic pressure that is being the favorite in an event making its debut on the Olympic stage. She needed a big run on a course that had caused problems for the majority of the riders in the field, and she did just that. She rose when the rest fell, just as she’s done so many times before.

And she won the first-ever Olympic gold in the debut of women’s snowboard Slopestyle. “Elder states(wo)man” Jenny Jones of Great Britain took the bronze.

“I was really just trying to stay calm and kind of reserve my energy,” Anderson said. “It was a lot of stress up there and even though it’s just another competition, the stage and the outreach that this event connects to is out of control.”

Coming into the Sochi Games, Anderson had already proven that she could excel. With four X Games gold medals to her name and some of the best amplitude and style in the women’s field, it was simply a matter of whether or not Anderson could execute the necessary run with the challenging course conditions. There was some added drama heading into the Olympics. In Aspen, just two weeks ago, Silje Norendal, a Norwegian athlete who’s battled nerves all of her career, laid down the run of her life and dethroned the reigning champ. The talk coming into Sochi that the pair would be in a fight for gold. Unfortunately, Norendal’s nerves got the better of her and she would finish 11th after squeaking through the semis on the strength of her only landed run in the competition.

Anderson, 23, appeared to battle some nerves of her own before her first run in the finals, not appearing to be her usual ebullient self atop the course. She got a score of 80.75 on her first run, which had her on the bubble for the podium. Her confidence and charisma appeared to return before she dropped for her second and final run. And she laid down a trademark Jamie Anderson-awesome performance. The judges rewarded her with a 95.25, which earned her the gold.

At 33, Jenny Jones hadn’t been a likely contender for the podium, but she put her years of competitive experience to use and was calm and collected at a key moment. Jones put down an impressive run, earning a score of 87.25 and the bronze medal, the first Winter Olympics medal for Great Britain.

Karly Shorr, a relative unknown coming into the Games, was a pleasant surprise for the USA team, qualifying straight into the finals and ended up finishing a very respectable sixth.

FINAL WOMEN’S SNOWBOARD SLOPESTYLE RESULTS
Gold: Jamie Anderson (USA) – 95.25
Silver: Enni Rukajarvi (FIN) – 92.50
Bronze: Jenny Jones (GBR) – 87.25