Jamie Anderson talks Olympics with Long Island kids
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We met in Manhattan with snowboarder Jamie Anderson recently before she clinched a berth on the U.S. Olympic team competing in Sochi, Russia. Jamie is one of the top snowboarders in the world and has competed in 10 X Games.
What do you like to do in your free time?
In my free time, I really like to hike, go out to nature, and I mountain bike a lot. I have just started playing the new Nintendo, Mario and Sonic, the Wii U. It's been so fun.
How many gold medals did you win?
I've won six gold medals in the X Games.
What is it like to win a gold medal?
It's amazing. You know when you work so hard for something, and really take your time and be patient and actually win, it feels really good.
Does your career make you a lot of money?
Yeah, thankfully I've been able to make a pretty good living from my sponsors, my competition winnings and such.
What does it feel like being in the middle of the air?
I think why I love snowboarding so much is because it really feels like you're flying. You're going on the mountain, there's all the fresh air, and you go off these jumps, and you literally feel like you're flying. It's so fun. You'll have to come with me and do it sometime.
Are you nervous before you compete?
Yes, I usually get pretty nervous. I've got to take a moment and walk around. When you're waiting for so long, you just kind of want to go. And you're waiting for the cameras, the judges. So you get a little bit nervous.
How long did it take you to get your first gold medal?
It took me about seven years. Six years of practicing at the X Games. I won them in smaller events, but when I was about 17, I won my first gold.
Do you have to stay on a diet to stay fit?
I don't really call it a diet, but you do want to make sure you're really eating healthy food and drinking a lot of water and staying healthy.
How many years have you been snowboarding?
I've been snowboarding for 14 years -- a long time -- more than half my life.
What is your worst injury you had snowboarding?
A rupture in my spleen a few years ago. It's bad. I stayed in the hospital for a little while. Coming back from injuries is always hard, and sometimes you do feel a little bit nervous. But it's just like anything in life you have to overcome. Sometimes, things scare you, and you feel you could have done it different, but I truly believe that everything happens for us, not to us, and it's always like a lesson to learn to grow from.
Does snowboarding interfere with your social life?
It's different, because there's a community of snowboarding that's very sociable and fun, but I did kind of miss out on the high school social life, being in touch with your friends at home.
Were you intimidated when you were competing against all the older boarders and you were just 13?
I was a little bit intimated, especially because I started when I was so young. A lot of the people were double my age. But I think I just felt really happy and grateful to be with all of them.
How long does it take to learn a new trick?
Sometimes, it takes me a really long time. I've been thinking about some tricks for years, and I haven't done them yet. But other times, you can learn a trick in one day if you're really focused and determined.
Do you have a ritual?
Yes, I definitely like to take a moment and go for a little walk away from the event area and just clear my head and breathe and just take a moment.
When you were in the X Games at 13, were you having fun when you were that young?
Yeah, I'm still having fun. When I was 13, I was one of the youngest athletes there, and I didn't know a lot of snowboarders, so I remember being like really starstruck.