It was an historic first day at the 2014 Women's Olympics in Sochi. Featured for the first time in Olympic history was slopestyle events.
The flamboyant snowboarder from Sierra-at-Tahoe ski resort had a strong showing in the first-ever Women’s Slopestyle competition in Winter Olympic history.
Anderson took second in her heat and had the second best score overall with a 93.50, which is based off a 100-point criteria. Australian Anna Gasser had the top mark at 95.50.
Anderson and Gasser were the only women to break the 90-point mark on the first day of competition on the controversial slopestyle course, which received a lot of pre-Olympic criticism for being too difficult and dangerous.
The experienced Anderson flew through her switches, coping equally well with her goofy and normal footing to hit three huge jumps with big frontside and backside maneuvers.
There were 23 athletes competing in the first two heats of the qualifier. It was clear that the front-runners like Anderson, who is favored to win the gold medal, are saving their biggest moves for the latter stages.
Having a difficult time on Thursday was youthful Ty Walker of the U.S. Walker, 17, opened up the second heat in anticlimactic fashion. Coping with injury and not taking any major risks, she scored a paltry 1.00 with her first run.
In Heat 1, Switzerland's Isabel Derungs had the top score (87.50), followed by the Australia's Torah Bright (85.25).
Isabel Derungs (SUI)
Torah Bright (AUS)
Spencer O’Brien (CAN)
Enni Rukajarvi (FIN)
Anna Gasser (AUT)
Jamie Anderson (USA)
Elena Koenz (SUI)
Karly Shorr (USA)
The rest of the field will be battling it out in Sunday’s semifinals for the remaining spots for finals.