One more ride for defending gold medalist Jasey Jay Anderson
KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia — Jasey Jay Anderson has not yet taught his daughters how to ride a snowboard.
"Terrible, terrible father," he says sheepishly.
Nobody was calling him that four years ago when he held those daughters, Jora and Jy, in his arms as he stood atop the rain-soaked podium, tears streaming down his face, and sang "Oh Canada" with the gold medal hanging around his neck.
That was his moment — one of the most poignant snapshots from the Vancouver Games, and one that convinced him he had done everything he could do in snowboarding, that he would never pass through the Olympics again.
Turns out, he was mistaken.
During a long, painful rehabilitation from a herniated disc in his neck in 2011, Anderson rediscovered his passion — not only for snowboarding, but for snowboards themselves.
He bought the equipment, opened a shop. He produces about 200 custom boards a year — hardly enough to make Burton or K2 take notice, but enough to keep things interesting for himself.
When he takes to the mountain Wednesday to defend his title in parallel giant slalom he'll be riding a board that he made.
"The boards are riding fantastic, but I haven't had a result in four years," said Anderson, who has been ranked in the 20s and 30s for most of that time. "It's hard to say. I could come out and do really well. Or I could get last."
He has pretty much already run that gamut at the Olympics — finishing as low as 29th (Salt Lake City) and as high as first (Vancouver).
At 38, Anderson will be the oldest competitor in the field and also the only snowboarder to line up at every Olympics since the event was introduced in 1998.
In his previous trips, there were big expectations. He's a man with 233 World Cup starts and 27 victories. The only missing piece of his resume was the Olympic gold.
He figured he had checked the final box when he won the 2010 title. He figured it was a good time to call it quits. This is, after all, a man who had a black-diamond run named after him at his home mountain, Mont Tremblant, in Quebec.
"I did what I had to do in 2010," he said. "This has all been a bonus. I started a snowboard business. This is something I've dreamed of my whole career. Being able to make a run, then say, 'I need to change this and that,' and the next morning, do it, and get on that board. At home, I'd go for three runs and I'd just be laughing the whole time, thinking, I can't believe I can do this."
Very soon, he'll ride with Jora and Jy, who are 7 and 8.
They've already learned how to ski.
Like so many parents who compete in their sports at the highest level, Anderson trod lightly with his daughters when it came to putting them on snowboards.
"I wanted them to tell me they wanted to do it," he said. "Now, they're begging me."
Yes, it will happen.
Before that, though, Anderson gets one more chance to see how his boards really ride.
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