The new slopestyle snowboarding event that debuted at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics has come to an end, and it was all about an All-American flair.
Jamie Anderson made sure of that early Sunday when she completed a flawless run to capture the gold medal, giving the United States a convincing sweep.
Her American compatriot, Sage Kotsenburg, surged to a gold-medal win on the men’s side for the United States on Saturday with his spectacular first run down the hill at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, registering a 93.50 score that no one could top.
In Kotsenburg’s case, the win was largely unexpected. Other than winning the trial for the United States last month, he had never won a major slopestyle event.
He was just as excited to see Anderson win as well.
While Kotsenburg was a surprising winner, Anderson was a clear favorite to win the slopestyle in Sochi. In fact, she has been the face of the sport on the women’s side for years. In fact, she has been so dominant that she has finished either first or second in 20 of the last 24 events she has entered over the past three seasons, including Sochi.
But she found herself out of medal contention after an uninspiring first run, and would need to pull out all the stops in order to step onto the medal podium on Sunday afternoon.
With her second run, Anderson did just that, pulling off two 720s to give her an incredible score of 95.25, a full three points ahead of every other competitor to that point.
Anderson was assured of a medal with just two riders remaining, and she was assured of gold when both riders fell on their final runs.
According to USA Today Sports’ Rachel Axon, 11 of Anderson’s family members made the long journey from the United States to Sochi to watch Anderson race, and for each of them the trip was well worth it.
"It's unbelievable," said Joey Anderson, Anderson’s father. "When she landed the last jump, I knew that was it."
"It felt like her moment," mother Lauren Anderson said. "That she pulled that off with that kind of pressure, it felt like she earned it."
Indeed it was Anderson’s moment, and she was determined to come out on top.
"I was really passionate and determined to come out here and do my best and do everything I can to be my strongest and most grounded, calm self, even with the hype of everything on the outside world," she said. "It just feels out of control. I can't even explain what I'm processing right now."
Anderson was understandably disappointed after a second-place finish at the X Games Aspen earlier this season, and she told Devon O'Neil of ESPN X Games three weeks ago that she was wary of heading to Sochi with all of the issues facing the upcoming Olympics.
“I've always been so excited to go to the Olympics, and it's a little sad that now it's finally happening and there's so much negative stuff going on in Russia between the terrorist attacks, the gay law and all the craziness,” Anderson told O’Neil “I want to compete in the Olympics, but I also want them to respect the environment, the athletes, everything -- and not make it all about McDonald's.”
On Sunday, it was all about Anderson, and she made sure to let the world know that for now, the United States are kings of the slopestyle hill.