Canadian snowboarder strikes gold

By BOB MACKIN, QMI Agency


Jasey-Jay Anderson kisses the gold medal he won in men's parallel giant slalom at Cypress Mountain Saturday, Feb. 27, 2010. (STEPHANIE LAMY/QMI AGENCY)

WEST VANCOUVER -- If that was the end of his competitive snowboarding career, then Jasey-Jay Anderson went out the way he wanted.

A champion who earned it.

The 34-year-old, two-time world champion from Mont-Tremblant, Que. won a parallel giant slalom gold medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics Saturday amid the windy, rainy and foggy conditions on Cypress Mountain. Anderson beat Benjamin Karl of Austria in the final heat. Karl is the current World Cup leader and defending parallel slalom champion.

“I love being in that situation where I have to rise above the challenge and try to dig as deep as I can and see what’s there,” said Anderson, a 14-year World Cup veteran. “There’s no better feeling and challenges like today, where you’re swimming all day and you can’t see anything, you’ve just gotta rise above all that.”

Mathieu Bozzetto of France claimed the bronze medal when he edged out Stanislav Detkov of Russia in the consolation final.

After the race, Anderson wrapped a Canadian flag around his snowboard. It was a show of pride and a means to protect his ride from the rain. Anderson said he had to rely on visual cues instead of sound to begin the race because of technical trouble in the start gates.

“All I wanted to do was nice turns and do the best I could, I just worked, worked, worked to be the best that I could be,” Anderson said. “It’s amazing the amount of energy I sucked out of the people around me. It’s nice to be able to give something back. A little bit of pride, a lot of joy.”

Anderson was fifth in snowboardcross and 20th in parallel giant slalom at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy.

Matthew Morison of Blackstock, Ont. (11th) and Michael Lambert of Toronto (12th) were Canada’s other entries.

Parallel giant slalom was the last event of the Games at Cypress Mountain. VANOC’s most challenging venue has also been the most profitable for Canadian Olympians, with four gold and two silver medals awarded there.

Alexandre Bilodeau of Montreal began the podium parade on Feb. 14 when he won the historic first Olympic gold medal in Canada by a Canadian. Maelle Ricker of Squamish, B.C. and Ashleigh McIvor of Pemberton, B.C. followed with golds in snowboardcross and skicross, respectively.

bob.mackin@sunmedia.ca

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