ZHANGJIAKOU – Jamie Anderson went back and forth on whether or not to come to these Winter Olympics in Beijing. The pandemic, the restrictions, the COVID testing – it just piled on the pressure of someone who already feels it as the USA’s two-time Olympic gold medalist in women’s slopestyle.
But all it took was the very first day on the snow Wednesday for practice runs to reassure her that she made the right decision. As Anderson rode up the chairlift with her teammates and took a look at it all, she knew she was ready for the challenge.
And there will be challenges, the artificial snow in such great amount being one of them.
“It’s been very firm,” Anderson said. “I think the majority of it is artificial snow so it’s not quite ideal, but I would say we are all making the most of it. “You definitely don’t want to fall – it feels like bullet proof ice. But I would say, for what I expected, it’s better than I thought.” Anderson is sharing an apartment with her three U.S. teammates competing in slopestyle – Hailey Langland, who took sixth in slopestyle and 14th in big air at Pyeongchang; Julia Marino, who is appearing in her second Games; and newcomer Courtney Rummel – as they prepare for women’s qualifying on Saturday. It seems like it’s almost a relief to the veteran to just be on the hill and forget all the rest. “It’s definitely a more complicated Olympics. Going to the Olympics is very stressful and you have so much on your plate,” Anderson said at a news conference in the Olympic Village. “And this year it has been an absolute nightmare. Just everything from getting here, I think all of us in the last few months – I was really struggling with everything it took to get here.