What's better than taking home a gold medal at the inaugural women's slopestyle event at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi? Simple: Winning a second gold medal at the 2018 Winter Games in PyeongChang. Olympic Snowboarder Jamie Anderson did just that — and as a result, she's set the bar for women's slopestyle snowboarding by being the first woman to win two gold medals in the sport. "Winning a gold medal was just ridiculous," Anderson, 27, tells Bustle. "It was the first time ever for that sport to be part of the Olympics for women, and it was a true privilege."
With her second win in PyeongChang, under less-than-ideal weather conditions, Anderson made her-story by becoming the first female Olympic snowboarder to win two gold medals in slopestyle snowboarding. "I’m feeling so happy," Anderson told NBC Olympics. "I've gone through so much this last year just preparing for the Games and defending the gold is definitely not an easy position to be in." While she initially ran into trouble during her cab double cork 900, Anderson landed it like a boss and secured the medal. The difficult flip rotation, which looks like gravity-defying snowboarding gymnastics, is a relatively new one for the Olympic champion, but you'd never know it from her performance.
"I definitely had a hard time mastering the double cork. It was a couple years in the works, and I didn’t land it until this last summer while in Mammoth at U.S. team training camp," she says. "It took a lot of crashes, a lot of fear, and a lot of perseverance. I just remember the pure excitement that shot through my body when I did finally land it."
Anderson grew up in Lake Tahoe, Calif. in a snowboarding family. One of eight children, her family's love of the sport was contagious, and she caught the bug early. She began using her older sisters' hand-me-down equipment, and the rest is her-story. "Soon after, I got a season pass to Sierra at Tahoe — which is my home mountain — and fell in love right away." It's her deep love of the game that's kept her on the mountain despite varying weather conditions, constant travel, injuries, and learning to master challenging tricks.
"The most difficult thing is dealing with different courses and conditions, and traveling around the country, and the world, can be exhausting, too," Anderson says. "What motivates me is the human condition to just work harder, learn more tricks and keep having fun!" Anderson also turns to music for inspiration while training. Some of her favorite genres include hip hop and rap, particularly 90s jams from Dr. Dre, Tupac, and NAS. "For more new school I like Drake and Kendrick Lamar."
Aside from the pursuit of fun, Anderson has some go-to self-care routines that keep her grounded during competition. "I deal with a lot of dry elements so I’m all about masks," she says. "I use a lot of clay masks, and I even use a little bit of dead sea salt in the shower to exfoliate. Most importantly, I need to keep hydrated so I use a lot of oil. Right now, I’ve been using this really nice rose hip oil that hydrates before I put any makeup on."
TODAY reported that a ruptured spleen during an accident in 2009 at the Burton U.S. Open Snowboarding Championship landed Anderson in the ICU for 10 days. The experience changed the two-time Olympic gold medalist's perspective on life and competition, and she now pursues progress instead of perfection. "I remembered coming out of that injury; I had a totally different outlook on life and health," she told TODAY's Willie Geist. "I just wanted to be the best version of myself and know that it’s not always going to be perfect."
For other Olympic hopefuls, Anderson advises appreciation for the natural environment and letting go of what others think as starting points for success. "Go out there and have fun!," she tells Bustle. "Don’t worry about everyone else around you, and just embrace the beauty of the mountains." Like other Olympic champions, Anderson says it's important to take in the entire Olympic experience versus focusing solely on herself and her event.
Because, no matter how athletes perform in competition, just being at the Olympics is an awe-inspiring experience. "The most exciting thing about going to the Olympics is the global celebration of sports. It’s the one time where the world comes together to celebrate — and it’s based on the pure passion and spirit of sports that brings everyone together," she explains.
Everyone, even Olympic athletes, can feel overwhelmed at times. For Anderson, learning to say no has helped her identify her priorities. "You can be pulled in a million different directions and you need to learn that it’s OK to say no and only do the things that help fill your own cup," she says. And, because it takes a village, Anderson relies on her family, friends, and sponsors to help her achieve her goals, including having clothes that don't smell like an old gym bag during travel and competition.
"I started my relationship with [Procter & Gamble] in Sochi. They’re such a family-first company and have supported me and my family throughout my journey," Anderson tells Bustle. "I’m excited to be working with Downy this year because it really is a must-have product for me being a professional snowboarder."
Anderson has also been fortunate enough to experience one of the greatest moments of her life twice when she secured her second gold medal in PyeongChang. "It feels unreal," she told Geist "I dreamed of this. I knew how amazing it would be, but I didn’t totally know it was possible." Anderson has proven that the pursuit of progress can definitely turn dreams into reality. "Follow your heart and have fun," she tells Bustle. "When times get hard, keep going — It’s worth it!" That's advice that everyone can take to heart.
Editor's note: This story was updated from its original version on Feb. 23, 2018.