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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Mikaela Shiffrin wins Aspen World Cup slalom

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With a slalom win today in Aspen, Colo., Mikaela Shiffrin broke some of the barriers she had been chasing.

“I don’t know if the stars will ever align like that again,” Shiffrin said in a media conference after being told she won with the biggest margin of victory in the history of women’s slalom since 1968: 3.07 seconds. “I don’t think [my competitors] are going to let me get away with three seconds ever again.”

En route to her fourth consecutive slalom World Cup title – which would tie the record for the most with Switzerland’s Vreni Schneider from 1992-95 – she became the first female skier to win four World Cup slalom races in a row since Austria’s Marlies Schild did it in the 2011-12 season.

In addition, Shiffrin became the first female skier from the U.S. to win a slalom World Cup race in Aspen. And she’s now tied with France’s Perrine Pelen for sixth overall with total slalom World Cup victories.

“I was pissed after I made that ridiculous mistake yesterday,” Shiffrin said to media, referencing yesterday’s giant slalom crash. Both her and Lindsey Vonn crashed and did not finish in Aspen’s giant slalom. “I tried to use that anger today.”

Shiffrin called the mistake a “brainfart” and Vonn dismissed it because “giant slalom isn’t [her] strongest event.”

But, Shiffrin added that she already has her mind set on tomorrow, where she races slalom again, on NBC at 3 p.m. ET. The complete of the Olympic sports schedule is here.

“I just as quickly have to go back and settle in,” she said. “Tomorrow is a new race. I have to find a different motivation and try to take the same mentality and keep fighting.”

Slovakia’s Veronika Velez Zuzulova was second behind Shiffrin, followed by Sweden’s Frida Hansdotter.

By finishing behind Shiffrin in Aspen, Zuzulova extends her slalom World Cup podium finish streak to four.

Hansdotter has the second-most second place World Cup slalom finishes at 13 total, including today’s race. Only Pernilla Wiberg, of Sweden, has more with a total of 14.

MORE: Shiffrin, Vonn discuss friendship and rivalry

Fencing great Valentina Vezzali fails to qualify for Rio 2016

Mario Monti, Valentina Vezzali
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TURIN, Italy (AP) – Six-time Olympic champion fencer Valentina Vezzali has failed to qualify for next year’s Rio de Janeiro Games.

The 41-year-old Vezzali was eliminated in the second round of the foil event at the Trofeo Inalpi meet Saturday, while Italian teammate Arianna Errigo reached the semifinals and gained the necessary points to qualify.

Vezzali won at least one gold at the last five Olympics in either individual or team foil. She has a total of nine Olympic medals and 25 at world championships.

Her second son was born in 2013, the year in which she also became a member of Italy’s parliament.

Vezzali told the Gazzetta dello Sport this week that “I had another son and it was really difficult to come back. … I don’t think I have anything else to prove.”

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