Anderson flies to fourth gold |

Anderson flies to fourth gold

Michael Appelgate
The Aspen Times
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Jim Ryan Courtesy photoX Games silver medalist Sarka Pancochova, winner Jamie Anderson and third-place finisher Spencer O'Brien celebrate on the podium at Buttermilk after Saturday's slopestyle competitions.

Before Jamie Anderson competes, she likes to hug trees.

One of her favorite trees to hug is the aspen tree, of which she easily found a plethora at Buttermilk on Saturday afternoon.

The South Lake Tahoe, Calif., native said it helps transfer energy from the Earth to herself and helps with calming nerves.

However crazy it sounds, it worked, and Anderson soared to her fourth snowboard slopestyle gold medal, and her second straight.

“This course was amazing and really challenging,” Anderson said. “I truly didn’t know how it was going to go.”

It went quite well for the 10-year X Games veteran. Anderson first competed in the games in boardercross when she was 13. Two years, later she moved on to slopestyle, and at age 16, Anderson earned her first X Games medal, a bronze. Since her first medal in 2006, she has medaled every year but one.

Anderson’s gold-medal run featured a frontside 270 off of the cannon, a backside 180, a Cab 720 and a switch backside 540. That was good for a score of 93, which was enough to hold up through the entire competition.

Sarka Pancochova, a 22-year-old from the Czech Republic – who also was caught on camera hugging a tree with Anderson – couldn’t land a clean run until her final turn.

“I don’t know why, I was really struggling with the frontside 540,” she said. “I just kind got pissed in my last run, just thought, ‘this is not happening right now.'”

Pancochova finally landed the frontside 540 off of the second jump and hit both of her other jumps afterward to post a 90 and claim the silver medal.

Spencer O’Brien, of Vancouver, British Columbia, also achieved her highest score on her final run – an 88.66. However, hand drags marred her landings, and she missed a grab.

“The run I had planned, it could have had gold-medal potential,” O’Brien, 24, said. “I missed a grab on the Cab 540, and it just goes to show how hard execution is. I was a little bit off today, but I was just happy I was able to stand on the podium with these girls.”

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