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.”

IOC opposes bid to trademark Olympic four-ring glitch logo

Kelly Slater, Bethany Hamilton on new movies, Olympic surfing hopes

Kelly Slater, Bethany Hamilton
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NEW YORK — On consecutive days, the most well-known surfers in the U.S. appeared at the Tribeca Film Festival to promote documentaries of a sport that makes its Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020.

Whether either Kelly Slater or Bethany Hamilton plans to compete at the Games is in question.

“I’m 50-50,” the 46-year-old Slater said Saturday at the premiere of “Momentum Generation,” a film about a band of teen surfers whose bonds brought the sport to new heights in the 1990s. “If I make the team, I’ll compete.”

That’s the hard part. The Olympic qualifying procedures, published last month, limit the U.S. to no more than three surfers per gender in the Olympic fields of 20 men and 20 women.

The top two Americans per gender from the 2019 World Surf League standings would be guaranteed spots. If the world’s dominant surf nations take up the top 34 spots in either 2019 standings, the third-ranked U.S. surfer could get in if the U.S. wins the 2020 World Surfing Games.

Slater was hopeful for more athletes from the world’s top surfing nations. Australia, Brazil, and the U.S. dominate the World Surf League standings.

“They’re going to have to change that a little bit, I think,” Slater said of the quota maximum (It’s too late to change this for 2020, and surfing is not guaranteed in the Olympics for 2024 and beyond.). “It’s hard to look past Brazil, Australia and America for talent in surfing.”

Slater, an 11-time world champion, dropped to the third-ranked American in 2016 and missed four of 11 events last season after breaking his foot. His best finish in the other seven events was a fifth. He hopes to return to competition in July, about a year since suffering the injury that required two surgeries.

The U.S. boasts the two-time reigning world champion — 25-year-old John John Florence of Hawaii — but no other men from last season’s top six or this season’s (early) top seven.

Slater said he hopes that Olympic surfing organizers would adopt his company’s wave-pool technology for the Games rather than holding it on the Pacific Coast. It was previously announced by the International Olympic Committee and Tokyo 2020 that the Olympic competition will be held at Tsurigasaki Beach rather than a wave pool.

“It’s almost a test sport for the first year when you get into the Olympics,” Slater said. “I think it will obviously broaden the audience that watches us. There’s a lot of potential things that can happen with that.”

Slater was one of several surfing icons featured in “Momentum Generation,” along with Rob MachadoShane Dorian and others.

“[It’s about] the convergence of all our friendships coming together,” said Slater, before he watched the film for the first time at the premiere. “Everyone’s got these kinds of stories in their lives that are interesting. Somebody found ours interesting enough to cover it, dig in and spend a lot of time on it.”

The night before, Hamilton walked the red carpet for her biopic, “Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable.” The Hawaiian’s left arm was bitten off in a 2003 shark attack when she was a promising 13-year-old surfer. She came back and continued winning contests.

“We started making a smaller, action sports compilation of my surfing,” five years ago, Hamilton said. “It grew into a more story/documentary.”

Hamilton, now 28 and a mother of two, last competed in the top-level World Surf League last May before she became pregnant with her second child, son Wesley, who was born six weeks ago.

She, too, was undecided about ramping up her schedule next year for an Olympic bid.

“I don’t know if I could qualify, but I’m not really competing enough to be the top-two pick of the USA team,” she said, adding that the type of wave at the Olympics plays a role in her interest.

Hamilton, between those two pregnancies, competed four times total on tour in the last four seasons with a best finish of third. Last season, four U.S. women were in the top eight of the World Surf League standings. Hamilton was tied for 20th with one start in 11 events.

Hamilton said she hopes to compete at least twice later this year, including at a Slater wave-pool event.

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NBC Sports to be home of U.S. Figure Skating, ISU events through 2026

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NBC Sports will air 80-plus hours of figure skating events yearly through 2026 in an agreement with U.S. Figure Skating announced Monday.

More here from NBC Sports PR.

NBC Sports has exclusive media rights to premier domestic and international figure skating events for the next eight years, including the U.S. Championships, world championships and the Grand Prix series.

The breakdown: At least 30 hours on NBC per year and at least 50 hours on NBCSN per year. Additional programming will air on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA.

The U.S. Championships’ weekend free skates and free dance will continue to air live on NBC, including three hours in primetime.

As part of the agreement, NBCSN will also air four hours of world championships in short track and long-track speed skating.

MORE: U.S. champion, Skate America winner retires

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