American snowboarder Jamie Anderson performed a dazzling run that would earn her a gold medal in the slopestyle event in Sochi on Sunday, but her father likely didn’t see it even though he traveled to Russia to support her in the Winter Olympics.
In an interview with “Good Morning America” correspondent Amy Robach, Anderson, 23, said her father “apparently had his eyes closed half the run.”
“I’ve never seen my mom so nervous for an event,” added Anderson, who hails from South Lake Tahoe, Calif.
The snowboarder gave Robach some insight into her mindset going into the event, saying she was listening to rapper Nas’ “I Know I Can” to give her some inspiration.
“I was in my own little sacred space, like ‘Have fun. Remember what snowboarding is all about. It’s just the Olympics. Don’t sweat it,’” she said, laughing.
As she stood at the top of the course, she said she dedicated her performance to everyone who helped her get to the Olympics.
“[I] just really knew that I was doing it for a bigger purpose … to make a positive contribution to the world in ways that I can’t even describe,” she added.
Anderson made a near-flawless run, soaring through the air with grace and athleticism.
She said that even though she felt good about her performance, she wasn’t quite sure just how successful she’d be.
“I was just happy I was able to put that run together because that course was very difficult,” she said. “I had no idea — I didn’t know how the judges were going to score it, I didn’t know how the last few girls were going to do, so I kind of just, I set the goal, I landed my run and the rest was out of my hands.”
When she learned the results, she fell to her knees in gratitude.
“Oh my God, I was just like ‘thank you, universe. Holy snap!’” she said.
Speaking of the intense pressure that led up to the moment, Anderson said she was surprised she didn’t break down in tears as she had done when she saw her sister just before making the run.
“It’s just so much pressure leading up to that day and that moment. … I felt like I was going to explode with all this energy, and to be able to like store it and reserve it” and do what she set out to do was “pretty amazing,” she said.
Anderson’s success at the sport is somewhat ironic, given that she’s afraid of heights.
“I’ve always been afraid of heights. Like roller coasters — there’s not a chance,” she said, laughing.
She explained she considered snowboarding simply “working with transitions,” adding that she felt in control. She also said the sport gave her the chance to soar like the birds she so enjoys watching.
Asked how she would describe herself, Anderson said she was “an authentic, down-to-earth girl” who is “grateful to be given the opportunity to follow my passion and snowboard and spread love and conscious energy and be my true, authentic self, and just try to bring some light to this chaotic world we live in.”
So what comes next for her?
“I have so many goals in life and I feel like snowboarding is just a chapter of my life and I’m open to whatever comes my way, and I’m excited to see what comes,” she said.