The first ever Olympic snowboard slopestyle competition happened this past weekend in Sochi and it’s safe to say American Jamie Anderson captured the gold medal with some real panache. Knocking out almost perfect runs, 23-year-old Anderson stayed cool under the pressure, but the experience wasn’t without its extremely stressful moments.
“I was really just trying to stay calm and kind of reserve my energy,” Anderson told ESPN. “It was a lot of stress up there and even though it’s just another competition, the stage and the outreach that this event connects to is out of control.”
Perhaps adding to her “zen”ness everyone keeps mentioning is the fact that Anderson is a dedicated yoga practitioner. Before the Olympics started she told Today:
“I really only work out in the gym in summer and fall because I’m on the road so much. But I always go to yoga — I do core fusion and Vinyasa. My favorite poses are variations on the handstand and the scorpion. You have to use your whole body, it’s physically and mentally challenging. You have to find your balance in this uncomfortable position, so when you do it, you feel like you’re really overcoming an obstacle.”
We may not be Olympic snowsurfers pulling doublecorks or flat spins, but we couldn’t have said it better ourselves.
Also, after her win, she told reporters:
“Last night, I was so nervous. I couldn’t even eat. I was trying to calm down. Put on some meditation music, burn some sage. Got the candles going. Just trying to do a little bit of yoga. … Last night, I was processing so much. I just had to write. I write a lot. I was writing in my journal. Listening to calm music. It was all about good vibration. Thankfully I slept really good. I did some mantras. It worked out for me.”
And she tweeted this:
— Jamie Anderson (@Jme_Anderson) February 10, 2014
On the other side of the pipe is 20-year-old Sage “I just winged it” Kotsenburg, another super chill young man who won the gold in the men’s slopestyle competition, with both wins making it a slopey and stylish sweep for the US. And guess what? With a name like Sage, we bet you’ve guessed, but yes, Kotsenburg also practices yoga.
Via USA Today:
In a time where snowboarders are spending increasingly more time training off snow to prepare themselves for the acrobatic tricks required at the highest level, Kotsenburg is the exception. He does yoga in the spring, but he hasn’t been to the gym since September.
Sage also went on an Indian yoga retreat leading up to the competition, Onboard Magazine casually mentions. That is sick and we are stoked and yes, they still all use that rad surfery language. Hang ten, cold toes. Congrats!
Update: Shape magazine has Jamie demonstrating three of her favorite poses: Dancer’s, Handstand and Tree Pose.
images Jens Büttner/EPA; David J. Phillip/Associated Press