Hippy Anderson stays calm for slopestyle gold

Sun Feb 9, 2014 8:04am EST
 
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By Nick Mulvenney

ROSA KHUTOR, Russia (Reuters) - Self-confessed California hippy Jamie Anderson kept calm in the frenzy of a dramatic women's snowboarding slopestyle final to clinch the first Olympic gold medal in the event on Sunday.

Going third last in what had been a low-scoring contest on an intimidating course at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, the 23-year-old laid down a superb solid run to score 95.25 and blow away the competition.

Enni Rukajarvi won a surprise silver for Finland with the only other run to break through the 90-point barrier (92.50), and Jenny Jones took the bronze with 87.25 to become Britain's first Olympic medallist in a snow event.

Anderson's victory gave the United States a sweep of the first two gold medals in snowboarding slopestyle after Sage Kotsenburg won the men's event on Saturday.

"It feels amazing, goodness," Anderson told reporters.

"To be here and represent my country, and just everything that has to do with the Olympics is such an honour and I'm so grateful right now."

There was also a reminder of the dangers of the sport when Sarka Pancochova, who had led after the first run, botched a jump and landed with a sickening thud on the snow.

The 23-year-old Czech appeared to lose consciousness as she slithered down the slope before being helped to her feet and making her way groggily to the bottom, where she showed her rivals a huge crack in her helmet.   Continued...

 
Jamie Anderson of the U.S. celebrates after winning the women's snowboard slopestyle competition at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games in Rosa Khutor February 9, 2014. REUTERS/Mike Blake