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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Olympic champion, Tour de France runner-up tests positive

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Samuel Sanchez, a 2008 Olympic champion and 2010 Tour de France runner-up, was provisionally suspended after testing positive for a banned growth hormone on Aug. 9.

Sanchez, a 39-year-old Spaniard, was due to race the Vuelta a España starting Saturday but is now out indefinitely until the conclusion of his case. That may include the testing of his B sample.

Sanchez denied wrongdoing, saying the failed test was a surprise, according to Spanish news agency EFE.

Sanchez won the road race on the first day of the Beijing Games in a five-man sprint that also included Swiss Fabian Cancellara, who would win the time trial in 2008 and 2016, and Luxembourg’s Andy Schleck.

Two years later, Sanchez finished fourth in the Tour de France but was upgraded to second behind Schleck due to doping bans for original winner Alberto Contador and third-place Denis Menchov.

Sanchez also took the polka-dot jersey for best climber at the 2011 Tour and finished second and third at the Vuelta in 2009 and 2007, respectively.

Sanchez rode in the 2010 Tour wearing a special helmet honoring his Olympic title. He also got a tattoo behind his right shoulder commemorating the Beijing gold on Aug. 9, 2008.

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Victoria Azarenka may miss U.S. Open due to custody battle

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Olympic and Grand Slam champion Victoria Azarenka says her participation in the U.S. Open is in doubt because she might not be able to bring her son with her to New York as a result of her separation from the baby’s father.

Azarenka is “faced with a difficult situation which may not allow me to return to work right away,” according to a post on the former top-ranked player’s social media accounts Thursday. “No parent should have to decide between their child or their career.”

The 28-year-old from Belarus gave birth to Leo, her first child, in December, then returned to the tour in June.

Azarenka’s post said that shortly after Wimbledon — where Azarenka lost to Simona Halep in the fourth round on July 10 — she separated from her son’s father.

“As we work to resolve some of the legal processes, the way things stand now is that the only way I can play in the U.S. Open this year is if I leave Leo behind in California,” was posted on Azarenka’s social media, “which I’m not willing to do.”

The U.S. Open starts Aug. 28.

“I remain optimistic that in the coming days Leo’s father and I can put aside any differences and take steps in the right direction to more effectively work as a team and agree on an arrangement for all three of us to travel and for me to compete,” was posted, “but, more importantly, to ensure that Leo has a consistent presence from both of his parents.”

Azarenka was the runner-up in New York in 2012 and 2013, losing in the final each year to Serena Williams.

Those were also the years that Azarenka won her two Grand Slam singles titles in Australia.

Wimbledon was Azarenka’s first major tournament in more than a year. She currently is ranked 204th.

“Balancing child care and a career is not easy for any parent, but it is a challenge I am willing to face and embrace. I want to support men and women everywhere who know it is OK to be a working mother — or father. No one should ever have to decide between a child and their career, we are strong enough to do both,” was posted on Azarenka’s social media. “I am incredibly grateful for all of the support I have received from women and men around the world who recognize the importance of supporting working moms and our right to be with our children. I look forward to hopefully having positive developments soon so that this difficult situation can be resolved and I can get back to competing.”

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