Jamie Anderson

Jamie Anderson stays busy while relaxing after Olympics

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NEW YORK — It still feels like a dream, one month after Jamie Anderson won gold at the Olympics and celebrated at a temple of water, Earth, fire and air.

Anderson, the first Olympic women’s snowboard slopestyle champion, has zig-zagged across the U.S. since leaving Sochi one week after winning on the second day of the Winter Games.

Some of the travel has been about getting back on a snowboard, a feeling she still itches for, but Anderson is also making the most of the opportunities afforded to gold medalists.

New York one week. Los Angeles the next. It was back to New York last week, with a 2008 Olympic champion gymnast by her side.

“I’m thankful that I did well and can relax for a few years,” she said, joking. “[Sochi] was such an amazing experience. … I don’t think it’s totally sunk in. I miss it a little bit. I haven’t been snowboarding lately. I’m missing the mountain vibration.”

That’s not completely true. Anderson won her fourth U.S. Open slopestyle title “in a snowstorm” in Vail, Colo., on March 7. She reportedly used the same run that earned gold in Sochi to wrap up the season’s World Snowboard Tour title.

Anderson rode on a trip with sponsor Oakley to Canada (the snow was awful) and while in Lake Tahoe for a few days for a homecoming party earlier this month.

“It was a just a tease because I love it so much,” she said of Tahoe. “I don’t want to leave now. It’s spring. You can ride in sunglasses.”

Her future appears bright. She’s 23, the same age or younger than her top rivals, and plans this summer to be in New Zealand, where the competition season usually starts in late August.

She’ll balance switch backside 540s and 720s with projects, such as a film she’s manifesting with a handful of women about the lifestyle behind snowboarding.

“The culture and connecting with our environment all over the world, where we get to go,” Anderson said.

One of those places was in Russia. She found what she called “a temple of water, Earth, fire and air,” in the days after winning gold.

“It was amazing, right on a river in the valley near Rosa Khutor [where the Olympic snowboard events were held],” said Anderson, who also enjoys yoga. “The Russian healer guy was just very in tune with all the elements. … It was, honestly, something I never thought I’d find in Russia.

“It just goes to show that there’s good people everywhere in this world. You just have to put out that energy.”

Anderson has no regrets from Sochi, but quickly answered when asked about changes for the second Olympic slopestyle event in Pyeongchang, South Korea, in 2018.

“I would like to see snowboarding be ran by its own federation,” she said. Snowboarding is part of the International Ski Federation (FIS), which also runs Alpine skiing, freestyle skiing, cross-country skiing and ski jumping. “We, as athletes, are all trying to come together to create a platform that works for the good of all. So hopefully that will happen before Korea.”

Anderson believes this offseason, full of commitments and projects, will boost her riding.

“I think the best thing for my snowboarding is taking a break,” she said, “and remembering how much I love it.”

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Nathan Chen holds off Yuzuru Hanyu to win first Grand Prix

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U.S. champion Nathan Chen opened the Grand Prix season by beating Olympic gold-medal favorite Yuzuru Hanyu.

Chen, 18, held off Hanyu at Rostelecom Cup in Moscow, totaling 293.79 points to win by 3.02 over the Japanese megastar.

Russian Yevgenia Medvedeva easily won the women’s title despite a rare fall in her free skate. Medvedeva is undefeated since 2015 Rostelecom Cup.

Full scores are here.

Chen landed four quadruple jumps in a strong but imperfect free skate for his first Grand Prix title in his second senior international season.

“I got a little tired halfway through the program and started faltering a little bit on the second quad toe – that was a big mistake,” Chen said, according to the International Skating Union .”I can’t let things like that happen in the future. But this is my first Grand Prix win, and I’m very happy with that.”

Hanyu outscored Chen in the free skate, but the American benefited from his 5.69-point lead from Friday’s short program.

Hanyu, the reigning Olympic and world champion, has never won his opening Grand Prix start in eight tries.

He did three quadruple jumps in Saturday’s free skate rather than the planned five, but did not fall as he did in the short program.

Chen has now outscored Hanyu in three of their last four head-to-head events dating to February. Hanyu got the better of Chen at the most important event — winning the world championships, where the American was sixth.

Also Saturday, two-time world medalists Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani won the ice dance with 189.24 points, sweeping both the short and free programs.

The siblings and U.S. champions have now won four straight Grand Prix titles (not counting the Grand Prix Final).

They won by 4.5 points over Russians Yekaterina Bobrova and Dmitry Soloviyev.

The world’s top two couples were not in the field — Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir and France’s Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron.

Russia swept the pairs podium, led by world bronze medalists Yevgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov.

The top pairs teams from the rest of the world — including world champions Sui Wenjing and Han Cong — were not in the field.

The Rostelecom Cup women’s free skate is later Saturday.

The Grand Prix season continues next weekend with Skate Canada, headlined by three-time U.S. champion Ashley Wagner and three-time world champion Patrick Chan.

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Rostelecom Cup
Men
1. Nathan Chen (USA) — 293.79
2. Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN) — 290.77
3. Mikhail Kolyada (RUS) — 271.06
11. Grant Hochstein (USA) — 206.09

Ice Dance
1. Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani (USA) — 189.24
2. Yekaterina Bobrova/Dmitry Soloviyev (RUS) — 184.74
3. Alexandra Stepanova/Ivan Bukin (RUS) — 179.35
7. Rachel Parsons/Michael Parsons (USA) — 148.75

Pairs
1. Yevgenia Tarasova/Vladimir Morozov (RUS) — 224.25
2. Ksenia Stolbova/Fedor Klimov (RUS) — 204.43
3. Kristina Astakhova/Aleksey Rogonov (RUS) — 199.11
7. Marissa Castelli/Mervin Tran (USA) — 170.53

Olympic ski cross champion suffers serious knee injury

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Canadian Marielle Thompson, the reigning Olympic and World Cup ski cross champion, ruptured an ACL and MCL in a training crash in Switzerland.

Alpine Canada did not say when the accident happened or what Thompson’s chances are of returning to defend her Olympic title in PyeongChang.

Thompson flew from Switzerland to Vancouver for an MRI that confirmed the injury.

“I’ll be making a plan with my team moving forward and when the time is right getting back on the ski cross course stronger than ever,” Thompson said in a press release.

Thompson, 25, tore a meniscus in January 2015 and returned to competition 11 months later. She won seven of the 13 World Cup races last season.

Other Olympic medal contenders include Swede Sandra Näslund and Swiss Fanny Smith.

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