Jamie Anderson, Olympic Gold Medal Snowboarder!
23-year-old Jamie Anderson made sports history earlier this year when she became the first gold medalist ever in the women's slopestyle event at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
The young athlete spoke with us about her start in the sport, participating in the Olympics and much more in a recent interview!
Jamie Anderson started snowboarding at the age of 9. She fell in love with the sport, but had no idea she could be doing it professionally years later.
"At the time I had no idea I could make a career out of it," she said. "I just remember how much I loved everything about it! The mountains, the creative freedom, exploring, playing outside in the snow! It's the best."
Jamie was homeschooled in South Lake Tahoe, California, which gave her a lot of time to hit the slopes. She also grew up with seven siblings, five girls and two boys, so she never had to go it alone.
"I thankfully had a 'Tahoe tribe' to go snowboarding with," she said. "I always rode park (slopestyle) and loved it!"
So what exactly is slopestyle?
"Slopestyle is just a fun park on the mountain!" Jamie explained. "Different jumps, rails, and creative features to ride over and do tricks on. It's always different, and changing in sizes and shapes. It's really fun to play in and to even just watch!"
Jamie kept up her passion for snowboarding. As she grew older, she improved more and more at the sport.
Jamie Anderson won her first bronze medal at the Winter X Games when she was 15 years old. To date, she's won 8 medals in the X Games.
Earlier this year, Jamie flew to Sochi, Russia to participate in the 2014 Winter Olympics.
"I felt a little nervous and excited at the same time!" she said. "There was a lot of fear with Russia and the safety, but once I let go of the attachment and decided to trust that all is in good hands, I was able to relax and enjoy the whole experience!"
Jamie was also excited that her family could make it to watch her perform. Her father had never traveled overseas before, and it was amazing to have him there to support her.
At the 2014 Winter Olympics, ski and snowboard slopestyle events were included for the first time. The snowboard slopestyle qualifications were the 2014 Winter Olympics' first events!
After incredible performances in the qualifications and semifinals, Jamie Anderson took home the first-ever gold medal in the Ladies' Slopestyle Finals.
"That was a special experience to not only compete in the first ever snowboard slopestyle event, but also to be the first athletes and events to start the Olympic Games!" she said.
Jamie has also taken up snowboard instruction.
"I haven't taught too much, but I would give this advice to anyone, whether they're a snowboarder or not," she said. "Do what you love and love what you do! Find passion and purpose in your life and you will be successful at whatever you choose to do.You are capable of anything you believe in. Trust, believe and see that you can achieve anything!"
Jamie hopes to continue working on the Jamie Anderson Foundation, with the goals of connecting youth and the environment, and to teach the importance of living for each other.
"I feel incredibly grateful for this life I'm living and all the opportunities that have come my way," she said. "Now I want to find a way to balance out all that I've been given, and to give back. Encouraging this generation to inspire each other to be our very best, to take care of ourselves, each other and our precious environment that gives so infinitely."
Jamie hopes that her continued successes will give her the chance to spread this message that is so close to her heart.
"We are all one!" she said. "I'm beyond grateful to connect and spread love with anyone who was able to read this! That's what this life is about. Finding joy, love, passion and purpose in everyday and in everything you do!"
She also repeated the famous quote by Mahatma Gandhi: "Be the change you wish to see in this world."
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