Get to know U.S. snowboard legend Jamie Anderson
A pioneer of her sport, Jamie Anderson holds the distinction of being the first-ever women’s Olympic slopestyle gold medallist. The free-spirited Anderson is a self-confessed tree-hugger who attributes some of her success to the Zen-like focus she gains through meditation. Olympics.com takes a look at the broad appeal of the double Olympic gold medallist. Here are six things you should know about the US snow(board) queen.
Jamie Anderson is one of the most recognisable figures in international snowboarding, effectively growing up in front of a global audience. The insanely successful Anderson will be looking to win an unprecedented three-peat in the women's slopestyle at Beijing 2022 while also eyeing success in the big air.
A pioneering spirit
The 31-year-old has been a competitive snowboarder for more than half of her life, wowing fans since making her X Games debut in 2005 when she was just 13 years old. Two years later, Anderson won her first X Games gold medal in Aspen in 2007.
Anderson’s success has snowballed since then, racking up medals, records and adoration over the last decade and a half.
Her success reached its zenith when she became the first women’s Olympic slopestyle gold medallist at Sochi 2014. Four years later, she successfully defended her title in Pyeongchang 2018, also winning the big air silver medal in the Republic of Korea.
Earlier in 2021, Anderson won her seventh X Games gold in the slopestyle, which was also her 18th medal overall. She is now tied second with fellow US legend Shaun White on the Winter X Games medals list and is the most decorated woman at the event.
"I feel like I haven't even reached my peak. It's still a little bit up there," Anderson told the Olympic Channel.
"I would absolutely love to have a family. I'm not in a huge hurry. Maybe I want to go to this Olympics and then hopefully start having kids while I'm still young and then even have the opportunity to go to another Olympics as a mother."
The Anderson family values
The fifth of eight homeschooled kids – five sisters and two brothers – Anderson was born in South Lake Tahoe, California, where she developed an affinity for nature's playground. Being homeschooled played a big part in her early development taking up the sport at the age of nine.
Her older sister Joanie was also a competitive snowboarder winning gold in the boardercross at the X Games in 2007. They became the first siblings to win gold at the same X Games.
Anderson takes a holistic approach to her health, life and sport, whether it is through meditation or feeding her body with superfoods.
A student of Ayurvedic medicine, Anderson is a proponent of finding a balance between the mind, body, and spirit.
Shredding slopes, landing jumps, and sliding rails are not usually associated with finding your centre, but there is a method to her thinking.
“Staying in the moment wherever is crucial, especially at this event where there is so much going on,” Anderson explained to the Olympic Channel.
“You really got to take a deep breath and just be where you are. I bring a lot of tea with me, and I have a little sanctuary in my room with crystals, a little singing bowl for meditation. I just try to take every moment and be chill.”
Defending her playground
Spending a large portion of her life in the outdoors, it is no wonder that Anderson is highly tuned into nature's decline. The eco-activist's life is intrinsically linked to nature and she has become an important voice in the fight against climate change.
Anderson has seen first-hand how her playground is changing. On a recent virtual Beijing Team USA media summit, Anderson spoke of the changes she had witnessed.
"Being here in Switzerland is a pure physical testimony to how gnarly climate change is," Anderson said.
"We're here in the offseason, September, October, because we're riding glaciers and this trip in particular, there's just chunks of ice breaking off, which in the years past would happen maybe once while I was here. And recently it's been happening a lot, I've probably seen 10 little waterfalls or ice breaks, and you can just see the declining glaciers. And I think for me, that makes me realise it is so bad."
The multi-talented Anderson revealed in an interview with Fox Business that she is into needlework crocheting hats in her free time. She bought her mother an alpaca farm in Vermont and hoped to use the wool from the farm for a possible future shift to fashion.
“I have always been crocheting hats, and my mom has an alpaca farm in Vermont, and my future goal is to use her fabric from her alpacas, which is the most sustainable and really the most beautiful wool on the market, and I would love to make hats and do some charitable cause with the product,” Anderson told Fox Business.
What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger
Given the extreme nature of snowboarding - the flips, twists, and turns at high speed - it is no surprise Anderson has had her fair share of injuries. Anderson suffered a serious injury in 2009 when she was 17 years old, puncturing her spleen during practice at the U.S. Open. The injury landed her in ICU and served as a lesson for Anderson to take better care of her body. Anderson has adopted a healthier lifestyle, including doing yoga to ensure her body can react to the rigours of the sport.