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Jamie Anderson heads to U.S. Grand Prix at Mammoth after one of her most meaningful titles

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Jamie Anderson said last week’s X Games title — her sixth dating to 2007 — was probably her most meaningful of her Aspen triumphs.

“Just because I’m 29,” she said. “I’ve been snowboarding for so long and competing for so long. To see the new generation and know that I still have it is pretty awesome.”

Anderson, the two-time Olympic slopestyle champion and the only female snowboarder with multiple golds, returns to her native California this weekend for the U.S. Grand Prix at Mammoth Mountain.

NBC Sports airs live coverage of the freeskiing and snowboard event Friday through Sunday. All broadcasts will stream on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app for subscribers.

Day Time (ET) Event Network
Friday 12:30 p.m. Ski Slopestyle NBCSN
4:30 p.m. Snowboard Halfpipe NBCSN
Saturday 1 p.m. Snowboard Slopestyle Olympic Channel
4 p.m. Ski Halfpipe Olympic Channel
5 p.m. Ski Halfpipe NBC
11:30 p.m. Ski Halfpipe NBCSN*
Sunday 3 p.m. Snowboard Halfpipe NBC*

*Delayed broadcast

Anderson took even more satisfaction from her 13th X Games Aspen slopestyle medal, one for every one of her appearances in the discipline dating to 2006, when she debuted at 15.

She suffered a bad big air crash at X Games the previous year, leaving temporary scars between her eyes and forcing her to pull out of slopestyle.

Anderson crashed on the same big air trick — a front double 1080 — in practice for a Dec. 20 contest at the Atlanta Braves’ SunTrust Park. She separated the AC joint in one of her shoulders and took a month off.

Anderson returned for X Games last week. Big air was again her first event. She crashed at least three times in five runs.

“I was a little bit standoffish, and I didn’t ride so well,” she said. “I think, partially, I had a little bit of the fear from the crash in the past. Thankfully, I took that energy and put it into slopestyle.”

In slope two days later, Anderson showcased her strength of spinning all four directions and reversed her rails from run to run. That worked well with the competition’s new scoring format — a jam session, where riders were ranked on overall impression rather than a single best run. She tried a front double 10 on her last run but wasn’t able to land it.

Still, Anderson beat a field that included Olympic silver and bronze medalists Laurie Blouin of Canada and Enni Rukajärvi of Finland, 2019 X Games champion Zoi Sadowski-Synnott of New Zealand and Olympic big air champion Anna Gasser of Austria.

This week, Anderson expects family members (she’s one of eight kids) in attendance. The South Lake Tahoe native won in Mammoth at her last two starts in 2017 and 2018.

“Mammoth kind of is a special place because I grew up coming here in the beginning of my career,” she said of a resort where Shaun White and Chloe Kim also plied their trade. “It was kind of the place to be for pro snowboarders.”

Anderson isn’t sure what her contest future holds beyond the Beijing Olympics in two years. She’s working on a snowboarding film project, “Leap Year,” with her partners.

“For a lot of years, it was pretty easy to win. I kind of just had to show up. Now I really have to freakin’ send it and do things out of my comfort zone and try new tricks,” she said. “Maybe one [more] Olympics, and then start freakin’ having a family and riding more backcountry, but I don’t totally know. I’m open to whatever is meant to be.”

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MORE: Chloe Kim to take year off from snowboarding contests

Ehsan Hadadi, Iran’s first Olympic track and field medalist, has coronavirus

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Ehsan Hadadi, Iran’s lone Olympic track and field medalist, tested positive for the coronavirus, according to World Athletics and an Iranian news agency.

“We’ve received word from several Asian journalists that Iranian discus thrower Ehsan Hadadi has tested positive for coronavirus,” according to World Athletics. “[Hadadi] trains part of the year in the US, but was home in Tehran when he contracted the virus.”

Hadadi, 35, became the first Iranian to earn an Olympic track and field medal when he took silver in the discus at the 2012 London Games. Hadadi led through four of six rounds before being overtaken by German Robert Harting, who edged the Iranian by three and a half inches.

He was eliminated in qualifying at the Rio Olympics and placed seventh at last fall’s world championships in Doha.

Jordan Larson preps for her last Olympics, one year later than expected

Jordan Larson
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Whether the Tokyo Olympics would have been this summer or in 2021, Jordan Larson knew this: It will mark her final tournament with the U.S. volleyball team, should she make the roster.

“I’m just not getting any younger,” said Larson, a 33-year-old outside hitter. “I’ve been playing consistently overseas for 12 years straight with no real offseason.

“I also have other endeavors in my life that I want to see. Getting married, having children, those kinds of things. The older I get, the more challenging those become.”

Larson, who debuted on the national team in 2009, has been a leader the last two Olympic cycles. She succeeded Christa Harmotto Dietzen as captain after the Rio Games. Larson started every match at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics.

As long as Larson was in the building, the U.S. never had to worry about the outside hitter position, said two-time Olympian and NBC Olympics volleyball analyst Kevin Barnett.

“She played as if she belonged from the start,” he said. “They will miss her all-around capability. They’ll miss her ability to make everyone around her better. She’s almost like having a libero who can hit.”

Karch Kiraly, the Olympic indoor and beach champion who took over as head coach after the 2012 Olympics, gushed about her court vision.

“It’s a little dated now, but somebody like Wayne Gretzky just saw things that other people didn’t see on the hockey rink,” Kiraly said in 2018. “And I remember reading about him one time, and the quote from an opposing goalie was, oh my god, here he comes, what does he see that I don’t see right now? She sees things sooner than most people.”

Larson grew up in Hooper, Neb., (population 830) and starred at the University of Nebraska. She was a three-time All-American who helped the team win a national title as a sophomore. She had the opportunity to leave Nebraska and try out for the Olympics in 2008 but chose to remain at school for her final season.

She earned the nickname “Governor” as a Cornhusker State sports icon.

Larson helped the U.S. win its first major international title at the 2014 World Championship. She was also part of the program’s two stingers — defeats in the 2012 Olympic final and 2016 Olympic semifinals, both matches where the U.S. won the first set (and convincingly in 2012).

“It just gives me chills thinking about it now,” Larson said of the Rio Olympic semifinals, where Serbia beat the U.S. 15-13 in the fifth. “That team, we put in so much. Not just on the court but off the court working on culture and working on how are we best for each other. How can we be the best team? How can we out-team people? Certain teams have a better one player that’s a standout that we maybe didn’t have or don’t have. So how can we out-team the other teams? We had just put in so much work that was just heartbreaking.”

Larson and the Americans rebounded to win the bronze-medal match two days later.

“I don’t know anybody that didn’t have their heart ripped out. It was just a soul-crusher of a match,” Kiraly said of the semifinal. “More meaningful was what a great response everybody, including Jordan, mounted to the disappointment of that loss.”

The U.S. took fifth at worlds in 2018 and is now ranked second in the world behind China.

Larson spent the past club season in Shanghai. The campaign ended in mid-January. She hadn’t heard anything about the coronavirus when she took her scheduled flight back to California, learning days later that LAX started screening for it. Now, she’s working out from her garage.

Larson is in line to become the fifth-oldest U.S. Olympic women’s volleyball player in history, according Olympedia and the OlyMADMen.

Her decade of experience could go a long way to help the next generation of outside hitters, led by three-time NCAA champion and Sullivan Award winner Kathryn Plummer.

“If you’re coming into the USA program as an outside hitter, in the next year or the quad or the quad after that,” Barnett said, “the measuring stick is going to be Jordan Larson.”

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