Snowboarding legend Jasey-Jay Anderson trying to "discover our own limits" ahead of Winter Olympics

Can Canada’s 46-year-old parallel slalom Olympic gold medallist make history at Beijing 2022? As a scientist of his craft, he certainly thinks so. 

By Chloe Merrell
Picture by 2010 Getty Images

Jasey-Jay Anderson is already seen by most of the snowboarding community as a legend.

With 63 World Cup victories, four Crystal Globes, four World Championship titles and an Olympic gold medal, he is Canada’s most decorated snowboarder ever.

In fact, there has never been an Olympic snowboarding competition without him. Anderson has featured in every single Olympics since his sport made its debut back in Nagano 1998.

But the 46-year-old believes he still has more to give. Next month he will begin his bid to make Beijing 2022, Games number seven.

To make that dream a reality the Quebec native must first qualify, and that means re-joining the World Cup circuit he walked away from last season.

The father of two will enter a selection race in November that will hopefully springboard him to the World Cup opener in Russia, in December. From there, he must accumulate as many points as possible to legitimise his claim on a berth for Beijing.

It’s an aspiration that not only requires a significant amount of time, energy and funding – since Anderson is no longer in the national set-up – but also an enormous amount of motivation.

Fortunately for the Olympic veteran, there is plenty on his mind to fight for.

Jasey-Jay Anderson competed in his sixth Olympics at PyeongChang 2018.
Picture by 2018 Getty Images

The science of snowboarding: where does speed come from?

It’s far more than just the allure of becoming a seven-time Olympian that is drawing Anderson to Beijing 2022.

For the last decade, the Canadian has devoted much of his time to understanding one of his sport’s most profound and technical questions: where does speed comes from?

Like a scientist bound to his laboratory over the years, Anderson has worked to identify the various factors he believes make up ‘speed.’ The parallel slalom specialist has then isolated each one, tried to maximise it to its fullest potential and ticked it off once he feels he has got the most out of it.

After his gold medal run at Vancouver 2010, Anderson established his own ski and snowboard business. With it, he has been able to do a deep dive into one of the most crucial elements of becoming faster: the snowboard itself.

What is the ideal shape? How much flexion should there be? What should the relationship be between the board and the boots?

Years of studying, tweaking, and fine-tuning have led to his latest snowboard design, which is now ready to be put it through its paces as he bids to qualify for the Games.

Jasey-Jay takes a World Cup crown in 2010
Picture by 2010 Getty Images

Beijing 2022: experience is king for Jasey-Jay Anderson

Should Anderson make it to China's capital next February, his age will likely be a major media topic.

But the snowboarder knows that his decades of experience also give him an advantage. For example, he knows the best way to train.

Over the years he has learnt that weight training to gain mass is detrimental to his snowboarding – recovery from workouts could take up to a week and hindered his time on the snow.

Instead, Anderson has found that cross-training in sports like hiking, paddle-boarding and cycling is more beneficial then hours spent in the gym.

Mindset is another factor he has crucially been able to develop.

With six Olympics and a gold medal already to his name, the Canadian athlete believes he now has the luxury of being able to approach Beijing in a novel way. He shared with Tremblant:

“I also see it as a scientific experiment.”

“See how much you can push sport and competition with age. It’s one thing to compete at my age, it’s another thing to win.”

“It’s interesting to see how I behaved in races 20 years ago versus today.”

That curiosity to compare himself between now and then circles back to his hunt for top speed's secret formula.

The Winter Olympic legend makes no secret of the fact he knows his time whipping downhill, navigating the gates is running out. The success of his Olympic attempt will come down to whether these technological advancements can help him turn back the clock on his own body.

“I’m going to see what I’m made of,” Anderson shared with the Toronto Star, unafraid of the challenge that lies ahead.

“In the end, that’s what we all want: to discover our own limits and see what we can do.”

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