What an incredible day it has been for women’s snowboarding. After an intense competition that had us right on the edge of our seats for the duration, Jamie Anderson of the United States, has emerged as the very first women’s Olympic Slopestyle gold medalist. Enni Rukajarvi of Finland and Jenny Jones of Great Britain took home the silver and bronze medals respectively.
Jamie Anderson unleashed her much-proven winning cocktail of stylish rail tricks (no zeaches in sight!), huge technical kicker hits and amazing flow today to cement her position as one of the best female slopestyle riders of all time. Her second run included a gap to noseslide, 50-50 backside 180 off, cab 180 to backside 180, cab 720, MASSIVE switch backside 540 and a huge front 7. Every trick was stomped perfectly with no hand drags in sight. She scored a 95.2 and bumped Finland’s Enni Rukajarvi into second place.
Enni had put down an equally clean run earlier featuring a gap to 50-50, 50-50, backside boardslide, backside 360, frontside 720, huge backside 540, and a sick cab 7 to finish off. It was fully deserving of a spot on the podium.
Jenny Jones from Great Britain also had a blistering second run after qualifying for the finals from the semis earlier in the day. She blasted through a gap to 50-50, 50-50 frontside 180 off to switch boardslide to regular (making her one of the only girls to hit a rail switch), 50-50 frontside 180 off the cannon, cab 540, backside 360 and clean frontside 720.
Jenny has been in the slopestyle game for a while, with multiple X Games gold medals under her belt but after a slew of recent injuries, many (including herself at times) had wondered whether an Olympic medal would be one step beyond her reach. We are beyond stoked that she believed in herself and proved any doubters wrong to earn Great Britain’s first ever Olympic medal on snow today.
After yesterday’s men’s slopestyle finals that were filled to the rafters with tricks that make your head spin just thinking of them, watching the women throw down today was a staunch reminder that style, flow and attitude are the only things you really need in a snowboard competition.
Of course, that’s not to say that the women riding today were just going through the motions. Far from it actually.
Torah Bright was going massive all day including tricks like poked out front 3 indys and tech switch 50-50s in her runs but couldn’t quite hold onto the landing of her cab 9. Austria’s Anna Gasser had qualified in first place and was hitting the course faster than anyone else and SENDING IT. Unfortunately she couldn’t stick her front 9 attempt in her second run but huge props to her for trying to step it up. After finishing first in semis today and putting down a solid first run, Sarka Pankochova took a horrendous slam overcooking a cab 7 and cracked her helmet open on impact. Good job she’s tough as nails.
And let’s not forget Swiss ripper Sina Candrian, who stomped the first ever1080 in a women’s slopestyle competition today. Had it not been for a noticeable hand drag on the landing, she would have been on the podium. It was just one of many remarkable achievements in today’s slopestyle finals.
Throughout the contest there were smiles and high fives rather than the stoney faces you see in many other overly-serious Olympic sports, and if this is what the mainstream public can take away from snowboarding being in the Olympics, then we as snowboarders, and all the ladies that bossed it today, have done very very well indeed.