Jasey-Jay Reaches the Top

He was there in Nagano, in Salt Lake City, and in Turin. But it is Vancouver he’ll likely remember most, in particular one drizzly day on Cypress Mountain where he finally stepped onto to the Olympic podium. Jasey-Jay Anderson, try this new title on for size: Olympic gold medallist in parallel giant slalom.

The veteran snowboarder from Val-Morin, Que., won his first World Cup medal in 1996. From then until now, he carved a spectacular career with four World Championship titles, four World Cup overall titles, nine Canadian championships, and nearly 60 World Cup medals overall.

Standing between him and Olympic gold was Austrian Benjamin Karl who would have a 0.76-second head start down the fog-filled course. “A true athlete drives out adversity, so I try to be a true athlete,” said Anderson, reigning world champion in this event.

Anderson flung his body around the markers, slowly gaining on Karl and surpassing him only over the final few markers. His momentum pushed him first, by a healthy margin, over the finish line much to the delight of the red-and-white-specked crowd.

He said he was shocked at the victory. “I had so much (time) to make up and in these conditions it’s pretty much impossible.”

Anderson is the second Canadian Olympic snowboard champion on Cypress, after Maëlle Ricker won the snowboard cross gold medal. Mike Robertson added a third snowboard medal, silver, in snowboard cross.

Anderson, and his teammates Matthew Morison (11th) and Michael Lambert (12th), were beneficiaries of new equipment help funded by Own the Podium’s top secret program. One of the advances was a new plate system between the snowboard and the riders’ boots.

Several years ago, Anderson considered retiring to his blueberry farm in the Laurentian Mountains. But the lure of a home Olympic Winter Games put that plan eventually on hiatus. Let us speak for all of Canada by saying: Excellent decision.