Snowboarding

Kate Pettersen - Tuesday Feb. 18, 2014 18:50 ET

Jasey-Jay Anderson to make 5th Olympic snowboard appearance

Reigning champion looks to defend parallel giant slalom title

Canada's Jasey Jay Anderson competes in snowboard parallel giant slalom

Jasey Jay Anderson rides into his fifth Olympics Games as the most decorated snowboarder in Canadian history. (Albert Gea/Reuters)

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Reigning Olympic champion Jasey-Jay Anderson will look to defend his title in men’s parallel giant slalom on Wednesday in Sochi. The 38-year-old is the most decorated snowboarder in Canadian history with four world championship titles and 61 World Cup podiums, 27 of those wins.

After the Olympics in Vancouver, Anderson took some time away from the sport retiring from competition to spend more time with his wife and two children. When the International Olympic Committee announced the addition of parallel slalom to the roster of events in Sochi, Anderson couldn’t resist returning to the slopes for a shot at double gold.

This time around, Anderson, who is from Mont-Tremblant, Que., has his work cut out for him. He has not finished in the top 10 on the World Cup circuit this season with his best result being 17th at a race in Rogla, Slovenia, in January. His last World Cup win came in March 2010, shortly after he won Olympic gold, when he topped the parallel giant slalom podium in La Molina, Spain.

The good news is this will no doubt be Anderson’s final Olympic appearance — so the five-time Olympian has nothing to lose when he pulls out of the start gate on Wednesday.

Women’s team aiming for the podium

For Caroline Calve, 35, of Aylmer, Que., her Olympic debut in Vancouver was a great learning experience to prepare her for the Games in Sochi.  She knows that years of preparation will all come down to one moment on the hill.

“Vancouver taught me a lot to be better ready for the unexpected and better ready for the general size of the Olympics,” said Calve. “It’s huge, there’s a lot of people, there’s a lot of energy. You feel other people’s nervous energy so you have to be ready for that.”

The tough course conditions at Cypress Mountain during the Vancouver Games are similar to those currently being experienced at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park in Sochi. Rain, snow, slush and fog have been the story since Sunday in an area that has been otherwise sunny and beautiful since the start of the Games.

I remember how it was raining cats and dogs, it was cold, and the fact that it was raining was bringing up some fog from the hill itself, from the snow,” said Calve. “I remember being up next and thinking, 'Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God, oh my God.

“You could kind of hear people in the stands at the bottom but you couldn’t see them just because of the fog. It was really thick that day and I remember being cold. I was nervous and I was shaking.”

Calve can now call herself a veteran of tricky weather on an Olympic course and will look to improve on her 20th place finish.

“It was a great moment because I was so happy to be at the Olympics, to have reached one of my biggest goals, and to be part of representing Canada at the Olympic Games. But it was also pretty much the worst race of my life just because of the conditions and the unexpected stuff that happens at the Olympics.”

This time around she will have two chances, one on Wednesday in the parallel giant slalom and another on Saturday in parallel slalom.

It’s funny because I have to often remind myself that it’s not just one day,” said Calve.  That it’s not just one opportunity. So make sure you relax and not stress out.

“I think the Olympics are just an opportunity for us to be really, really excited about racing in such a big event and I hope it will fuel me in a positive way.”

Canada with three chances in each event

Joining Anderson in the men’s event will be Matt Morison of Burketown, Ont., and Michael Lambert of Toronto. Both made their Olympic debut in Vancouver finishing 11th and 12th respectively.

On the women’s side, two Olympic rookies will be looking to make an impact with Ariane Lavigne of Lac Superieur, Que., and Marianne Leeson of Burlington, Ont., joining Calve in the start gate.

 

 

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