Jamie Anderson is no stranger to shattering glass ceilings–especially on the slopes, where she became the first female snowboarder to win more than one Olympic gold medal when she took home the top prize in the women’s slopestyle competition at the 2018 Olympics in PeyongChang. This impressive, record-breaking fete followed her 2014 win during the Sochi Olympics, where the competition made its debut at the winter games.
Although snowboarding is a male-dominated sport, Anderson is proof that the future is female. We had the opportunity to speak with the fierce competitor, who opened up about the personal challenges she experienced throughout her career, the positive strides in snowboarding that continue to change for the better, and what’s next for the Olympic athlete.
“I have always been in a male-dominated sport and there wasn’t a lot of respect for women when I started,” she said. “Guys tended to run the show and we were just starting to really get our feet wet. But now, girls are stepping up and showing them what’s up! I feel proud to have played a role in that progression of our sport and the world as a whole.”
Anderson admitted that respect goes both ways within the community. “I think respect comes with determination, ambition and the drive to win. It’s also so important to respect everyone in our snowboarding family – at the end of the day it’s about respecting others and with that comes the respect for yourself,” she said.
Even industries once dominated by males aren’t immune to the power of the feminist movement–and Anderson said the key to gaining momentum is evening out the playing field. It’s all about “keeping the balance alive,” she said. “When I first started out there were barely any women’s events and now we’re on the same stage as men and we’re killing it! Showcasing women in sports has been a struggle for so long and there’s definitely still a lot more that can change to bring even more equality to sports.”
“There’s a lot of mental chaos in the world and on social media right now and I think it would be really cool to try and grow my foundation to help connect kids to different passions that make them happy.”
Anderson’s relationship with snowboarding started at home, when she was introduced to the sport by her two older sisters and began riding at age 9. By the time she was 15, she became the youngest Winter X Games medalist, (beating Shaun White by mere days). Anderson’s passion, strength, and perseverance led to her record-breaking success. “Having the simple belief that you can do things you may think you’re not capable of doing is really powerful and we’re seeing more of that with girls all over the world,” she said.
As Anderson reflects on the future of snowboarding it’s clear that Olympian isn’t the only title she’s committed to: being a role-model is just as important to the athlete. “I hope to continue to inspire young girls to follow their dreams,” Anderson said.
In fact, when asked what she plans to do now that she’s taken home the gold once again for Team USA, the Tahoe native said she feels a responsibility to nurture the next generation. “I think it’s time for me to give back more. I care so much about young kids – not only in snowboarding but also in educating younger kids to be happy,” she said. “There’s a lot of mental chaos in the world and on social media right now and I think it would be really cool to try and grow my foundation to help connect kids to different passions that make them happy.”
Along with the empowering sentiments from fellow female competitors and Olympic partners and sponsors, Anderson credits her boyfriend of three years, Olympic snowboarder Tyler Nicholson, as part of her support system. “It’s been so special to have him here and experience this together! It’s something not a lot of people get to go through and it’s great to have someone else there who is going through the same emotions and experiencing the same chaos as me,” she admitted.
When she isn’t on the slopes or spending time with her boyfriend, Anderson is also committed to sustainable style, which makes her partnership with Downy a perfect fit for the athlete, who admitted she relies on Downy Protect & Refresh to prolong the life of her garments. “With me always being on the go between my training, competitions, and appearances, I need something that will keep my clothes feeling and smelling fresh when I don’t have the time to change in-between.”