American Jamie Anderson takes gold in slopestyle


Jamie Anderson of the USA is flanked by second placed Enni Rukajarvi (L) of Finland and third placed Jenny Jones of Great Britain during the flower ceremony for the women’s snowboard slopestyle. (EPA/JENS BUETTNER)

KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia — Since she was just 15 years old, Jamie Anderson has been one of the most consistent and successful women’s slopestyle competitors to set foot on a snowboard. She filled her trophy case with eight Winter X Games medals and found the podium in so many other big events. And now that slopestyle has made its debut at the Winter Games, the 23-year old Anderson can add something new to her snowboarding resume: Olympic champion.

Anderson put together a nearly flawless final run, leapfrogging the field and earning an impressive score of 95.25, good enough for Olympic gold. It’s the third medal for the Americans at these Sochi Games and the second gold. Sage Kotsenburg won the men’s slopestyle competition one day earlier.

Anderson, a Lake Tahoe, Calif., native, had a smooth first run through the rails and the first two jumps. She didn’t land the third cleanly, though, but still posted a score of 80.75, the second-best through the first half of the final round, trailing only the Czech Republic’s Sarka Pancochova (86.25).

The bar was quickly raised in the second round, though. Great Britain’s Jenny Jones was the second rider of the competition’s final round. She wowed the crowd and impressed the judges, posting an 87.25. Switzerland’s Sina Candrian nearly matched her with an 87.0 before Finland’s Enni Rukajarvi eventually topped them all with a 92.5.

Anderson, who entered these games as a favorite for gold, could only wait. When it was finally her turn — the 10th of 12 riders — she stood in fifth place and needed a big run. And that’s exactly what she delivered. She glided along the rails and floated off the jumps. When the score was announced, her 95.25 vaulted her into first.

The final two riders couldn’t catch her. Rukajarvi won silver and Jones took bronze.

Sunday also marked the first Olympic event for Australia’s Torah Bright, who won gold in the women’s halfpipe at the Vancouver Games, and came to Sochi targeting three events. Her score of 66.25 was good enough for a seventh-place finish.

The only other American to reach the 12-person finals was Karly Shorr, who posted a high score of 75.0 and finished the competition in sixth place.

More Olympics news

Wagner’s debut earns U.S. spot in medal round of skating team competition

Jenkins: If you can’t beat the Dutch speedskaters, why not join them?

Sochi problems aren’t gone but are partially forgotten

Wise: Gold medalist Sage Kotsenburg is a good dude

Hannah Kearney settles for bronze in moguls

A bobsledder has scare with an elevator shaft

A snowboarder’s insane haircut

Photos from Day 1 of competition

 

 

Rick Maese is a sports reporter for The Washington Post.
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