Sochi gold medalist Jamie Anderson qualifies for PyeongChang
BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. — Jamie Anderson will be headed to the 2018 Olympics to defend her gold medal, and she's hoping to bring some big tricks with her.
By finishing in second place, best among U.S. slopestyle riders, at Dew Tour Breckenridge, Anderson has confirmed her nomination to the U.S. Olympic snowboard team for both slopestyle and big air. The Breckenridge event served as the third of five selection events for the slopestyle and big air team.
On her second and third runs, Anderson attempted to up the ante by adding a cab double underflip — one of the most progressive tricks in women's slopestyle snowboarding right now. She washed out on both attempts but was able to finish on the podium based on the strength of her first run.
The cab double underflip is a new trick for Anderson this season. She learned it earlier this year and then landed it in a contest for the first time back in August. It's also a trick that U.S. teammate Julia Marino and Austria's Anna Gasser had dialed in last season when they beat Anderson at several contests.
"When I was asked about double corks three years ago, I think I said there was no way in hell I ever want to do double corks," Anderson said. "And then, with a lot of the other girls slowly getting their double corks together, I started to shift my mindset and realize that we also are capable of doing these tricks."
So far, she's only landed the trick a handful of times. And in the process of learning it, she's endured some rough crashes that have upped the fear factor of the trick for her.
"I still feel pretty not-that-comfortable going upside-down twice, but it's fun and it's starting to click a little bit more," she said.
Defending her slopestyle gold medal in PyeongChang will be no easy task for Anderson. Gasser has been dominant over the last year thanks in part to her mastery of the cab double underflip, and Canada's Spencer O'Brien has put her name in the mix as well after taking the victory in Breckenridge.
Anderson will also have a chance to compete in big air in PyeongChang, though her strongest results have historically come in slopestyle.
Hailey Langland (fourth place) and Marino (sixth place) finished second and third among Americans in Breckenridge. Both will be expected to secure spots on the team at one of the next two selection events. A fourth spot on the team could be awarded at the discretion of the coaches.
Breckenridge Olympic Qualifier Results
Women's Snowboard Slopestyle
1. Spencer O'Brien (CAN), 95.00
2. Jamie Anderson (USA), 93.33
3. Enni Rukajarvi (FIN), 92.00
4. Hailey Langland (USA), 90.00
5. Silje Norendal (NOR), 87.66
6. Julia Marino (USA), 85.33
Olympic Qualifying Standings
Women's Snowboard Slopestyle/Big Air
1. Jamie Anderson, 2000**
2. Julia Marino, 1600*
3. Hailey Langland, 1600*
4. Jessika Jenson, 1050
5. Ty Walker, 1000
*Has met minimum of one top-three finish.
*Has confirmed nomination to U.S. Olympic team.