2018 Olympics Recap: Jamie Anderson wins gold in slopestyle snowboard
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Canada skated to the gold it had been dreaming about for four years.
American Jamie Anderson got another to match the one she won in Sochi.
The Canadians kicked off the third day of full competition at the Pyeongchang Olympics on Monday by winning the team figure skating competition, finishing with the medal they had set their sights on since taking silver in 2014. And, they clinched it before the ice dance — the third event of the day — even began.
“We think we’re the best in the world,” ice dancer Scott Muir said. “Winning this is like winning hockey and winning curling.”
Anderson showed she’s tops in women’s slopestyle, defending her title from the 2014 Games and becoming the first female snowboarder to win two Olympic golds.
That came despite some big-time weather concerns that caused a 75-minute delay and left the course unpredictable.
“I was trying to keep the spirits high, like, ‘Let’s run it,'” Anderson said. “A handful of the girls were like, ‘No, it’s not safe’ and things like that. It’s not like what we’re doing is safe anyhow.”
The windy conditions postponed the women’s giant slalom until Thursday, the same day as the already-postponed men’s downhill at the Pyeongchang Olympics.
Other events with medals scheduled to be awarded Monday include the women’s 10-kilometer and men’s 12.5km pursuit biathlon, men’s freestyle moguls, women’s normal hill ski jumping and women’s 1,500-meter speedskating.
In Gangneung, the Canadian skaters entered the day with a big lead and never were threatened despite some outstanding individual performances by Mirai Nagasu, who became the first American woman and third overall to land a triple axel at the Olympics, and Russian Alina Zagitova, who soared to a first-place finish in the women’s free skate.
The top spot was clinched for Canada when Gabrielle Daleman finished third, giving her country 63 points to 58 for the Russians with only the ice dance remaining. The United States repeated its showing in the 2014 Sochi Games with a bronze medal.
“We have such an incredible, strong team,” Daleman said, “and I’m proud to say we’ve won and I’m prouder to have been part of it.”
Nagasu made some figure skating history, accomplishing her rare feat just 21 seconds into the women’s free skate. She was the first of the five women to skate and led her routine with the triple axel.
“Going into it, I was like a train and I was like, ‘Get on the tracks and get some speed,'” she said. “And, I tripped a couple times. I don’t know if you could tell. It was more something I could feel, but to nail it the way I did, even out of the corner of my eye, I could see my teammates standing out of excitement.
“And at that moment, I wanted to stop the music and get off, but I still had my whole program ahead of me.”
Nagasu had landed triple axels in previous competitions, but never in such a pressure-packed situation as the Olympic stage. She joined Japan’s Midori Ito and Mao Asada as the only women to land triple axels during the Olympics.
KEEPING HER COOL
Anderson, who gave the U.S. its second gold of the games, was one of the few riders in the final to navigate the tricky series of rails and jumps safely as the wind wreaked havoc on the field.
She posted a score of 83.00 in her first run, then washed out in her second — with the gold medal already wrapped up.
Laurie Blouin of Canada finished second, with Finland’s Enni Rukajarvi third.
The Alpine schedule will be packed Thursday after the women’s slalom, featuring American Mikaela Shiffrin, was postponed because of strong wind.
The women will compete at the Yongpyong Alpine Center used for technical races, and the men about 30 miles (50 kilometers) away at the Jeongseon Alpine Center, which is used for speed races.
Shiffrin’s first race in South Korea will be Wednesday in the slalom, where she is the defending Olympic champion.