One-on-One with an Olympic Gold Medalist
American snowboarder and proud Visions alum Jamie Anderson made international headlines this year for being the best in the world at what she does, freestyle snowboarding. The 23-year-old Lake Tahoe native credits her flexible schedule as a Visions student for allowing her the opportunity to constantly be on the mountain growing up. Jamie recently won the gold medal in women’s slopestyle snowboarding at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics and is a leader in her sport, having many other wins and medals under her belt.
We had a chance to talk to the free-spirited, sweet, down-to-earth athlete one-on-one, where she talked a lot about gratitude, her love for the sport and trusting that you can do whatever you put your mind to if you have faith in yourself.
Talk to me about how you got your start in snowboarding? What sparked your interest? I was very fortunate to grow up in Lake Tahoe, and spent a lot of time out in nature and the mountains. Naturally, I was always drawn to snow sports and exploring outside. When I was 9-years-old I got my first snowboard, and I’ve been riding and loving it ever since!
What are some of your favorite memories from your childhood in the Lake Tahoe area? I loved camping! My parents took our family on a lot of cool trips. We were always exploring the area and learning about our natural and local environment.
When did you realize that snowboarding could actually be a legitimate profession for you? Did you ever imagine you would be where you are today? I never imagined I’d be where I am today. I just really loved snowboarding. It was one of my first passions in life, and although I thought I wanted to be a pro-snowboarder when I grew up, I didn’t have any idea it would bring the opportunities it has. For all that it’s given me, I am neon’s grateful!
What goes through your mind when you are at the top of a mountain about to compete? I visualize my run quite a bit. I listen to music and dance to release any nerves and tension. And yeah, just go have fun!
You seem very level-headed. How do you keep your feet on the ground and stay humble? Growing up in a big family, and having down-to-earth parents plays a huge role in the person I am today. I was always taught to be humble and remember how grateful I am for all that I have. And I truly am grateful for everything I’ve been given and all the amazing opportunities in this life.
You just won the GOLD MEDAL in Women’s Slopestyle Snowboarding at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Congratulations! What is your reaction? It’s unbelievable! I feel like I’m still taking it all in. It’s been the craziest year of my life by far. I was born into the year of the horse, in Chinese symbolism, and just before the Olympics we went into the year of the horse. I felt like this year was truly about coming into my power and working hard towards my dreams and goals!
This was the inaugural year for your sport in the Olympics. How amazing does it feel to be such a huge part of that? It feels great. I have heard that people just loved watching the slopestyle event, so I’m really happy to be a part of that push for freestyle snowboarding!
You were the favorite to win the gold in your event the whole time. How did you deal with all of that pressure? By living in the “NOW.” (The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle, is an amazing book!) Taking everything moment by moment. It’s a lot to take in and a lot of stress and pressure. I truly had to practice not getting too far ahead. I knew I had set the goal to do my very best and work hard to feel my strongest leading up to the event. Then I had to let go and trust. I believe that everything happens for a reason, even though sometimes it’s difficult to see.
The tricks you pull off in the air are pretty amazing and you make it look so easy. How hard is it to do what you do? It’s like anything you do in life. It’s challenging, but it’s possible! If you work hard and believe in yourself, you can do anything!
I heard you say in another interview that you weren’t always a super patriotic person. Now that you have had the chance to represent your country so well, how do you feel about that? I was very happy to go to the Olympics representing our country. I just acknowledge how much I love our whole world, everywhere on Earth, all the nations. There is so much beauty everywhere. I don’t like the separation vibration from country to country. At the end of the day, we are all ONE. One love.
Your competitors call you an athlete who is a leader in the sport. What does that mean to you? That means a lot to me. I remember being the young one looking up to a lot of the athletes, and now I do play a positive role being a leader. I want to represent myself, our sport and our environmental awareness, in a positive light. I’m doing the best I can. No one is perfect, but I’m learning more and more every day, and always growing …we all are!
I’m sure there will be many opportunities for you beyond snowboarding when you get back to the United States! Are you excited to come back to U.S. and experience all of that love? I am ready for whatever the universe brings me!
What do your family and friends say about your success? They must be so proud of you. I feel so fortunate for my family and close friends! They truly know what hard work, passion, strength and determination it took for me to get to where I am. Without their love and support I’m not sure all of this would have been possible! We need each other to reach our goals. We need to support all of our friends, family, competitors, co-workers, and anyone else to truly be the best person we can be. If you can’t help someone, at least do no harm. Let’s come together to be our greatest, and really want to see everyone succeed.
You were a Visions In Education student. How was the school able to support you in your educational goals and life dreams? I did home school most of my education, and it was amazing to be able to stay active and live a healthy lifestyle. I was always outside playing and doing sports. When I got into snowboarding at age nine, that was my new favorite thing to do, and I was on the mountain every single day. I was doing homework at night. During high school I was traveling quite a bit and had a hard time getting my schoolwork done on time, but my teacher Rosie was absolutely amazing and helped me through all of my schooling and truly understood the lifestyle I was living. And she totally believed in me to be my best!
Is there anything else that you would like to say or that I may have missed? Always believe in yourself! You are capable of anything you believe in. Life is precious, so have fun, and enjoy every moment. And more then anything TRUST your intuition; it will always guide you through this life … peace & love.
All pictures in this article were used with the permission of © Jamie Anderson. For more on Jamie Anderson, visit her website.