Vancouver Jasey-Jay's last shot
Boarding veteran is making one last run at the podium
VANCOUVER — The old man, as Jasey-Jay Anderson is known by some on the World Cup snowboard circuit, is ready to hang up his 10-year-old socks.
At the age of 34, the Canadian snowboard legend summoned all the control he could muster on Thursday, not on the Cypress Mountain Olympic course, but at a team media conference.
Struggling to control his emotions, the four-time world champion (in three different slalom events), confirmed that the Vancouver Olympics will likely be his last race ever.
At the same time, he touched on what the sport has meant to him and how it was time that he stopped being a selfish, needy athlete and concentrate more on his wife Manon and two daughters, Jora and Jy.
“There’s been (a lot) tough times and I don’t want to live through that anymore,” said Anderson. “I have two kids and I’m looking forward to spending more time with them. I’ve already missed five years of their lives. I feel bad about that. I wish I was there more.
“But on the good side, I got to travel so much. I started kayaking because of snowboarding, kite boarding. surfing. I did all sorts of beautiful sports because of snowboarding. I got to meet so many good people, so many helpful people. When I look back on that it gets me, for sure.
“I have to put on my stone face on here,” he added, his voice breaking slightly. “Because it was a beautiful experience. It’s been my whole life. I’ve been doing this for 16 years professionally.
That’s half my life.”
Anderson has accomplished virtually everything in his sport, including four overall World Cup titles and the 2009 world championship in Gangwon, South Korea. And he’s barely slowed down. This season, the Mont-Tremblant, Que. native, who in the off-season operates a blueberry farm with his wife, has won two World Cup parallel giant slalom events.
The only grand achievement that has eluded Anderson is an Olympic medal. Vancouver will be his fourth Olympics. His best finish at a Games was a fifth in snowboard cross four years ago in Turin. It was the possibility of winning a gold at an Olympics on home soil that has kept him in the game.
“I almost quit four serious times and something just kept reeling me back in,” he said. “At one point, I had to do more motocross to keep the dream alive. I was having equipment problems and obviously financial problems in a sport like this. But there’s been so many good times. It’s a privilege to be an athlete. You don’t really live in the real world. There’s some experiences that are way beyond what the real world can offer. But at the same time, the tough parts are really tough. Being on a team like this is like living with your parents. At 34 you just don’t do that.”
The other day, Anderson and his 23-year-old teammate, Michael Lambert of Toronto, became embroiled in a disagreement to the point where they started throwing chewed-up carrots at each other.
Lambert, who won a World Cup parallel giant slalom event this season in Nendaz, Sui., said the dispute, which they were laughing about afterwards, was the result of his immaturity. But it did cause some friction, and that’s something Anderson is eager to leave behind.
As for the socks, the old blueberry farmer acknowledged that he will wear the same socks on Feb. 27 — race day — that he has won for the last 10 years.
“Probably just for nostalgic reasons,” he said. “They’re going on E-Bay on Feb.28.”
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