Another Gold for Team USA
PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) — Jamie Anderson will almost certainly spend more time gazing at her newest Olympic gold medal than watching replays of the slopestyle run she put down to win it.
Nobody, not even the Olympic champion, would want to re-live the ugliness that played out Monday on the sport's biggest stage.
The day Anderson cemented herself as an all-time great by defending her Olympic title will also go down as one of the most unpleasant, dangerous days snowboarding has ever seen.
Shifting, bitter winds whipped tiny ice pellets across the iced-over jumps at the Phoenix Snow Park and stiffened the orange-colored wind socks in one direction, then another. Hundreds of numbed fans streamed toward the exits while the action was ongoing, and the stands were half empty as the afternoon wore on, with wind chills dipping to 5 degrees (minus-15 degrees Celsius) and below.
Twenty-five riders each took two turns down a course that, by almost all of their accounts, should not have been open for action. Of the 50 runs, 41 ended with a rider on her backside, or in a face plant, or, in the case of Canadian Spencer O'Brien and a few others, in a slow ride down the course after simply pulling up because they couldn't build enough speed to reach the top of a ramp.
"All I wanted to do," said fourth-place finisher Silje Norendal, "was sit up top and cry."
This was not just sour grapes.
Even Anderson — the sport's biggest gamer and its No. 1 big-day rider — conceded, "I'm not extremely proud of my run." Her modest score of 83 resulted in a blowout of nearly seven points over silver medalist Laurie Blouin of Canada.