By Karen Billing
Del Mar resident Corrie Anderson traveled to Sochi for the Winter Olympics to work using her healing hands on the tense muscles of the U.S. snowboarding team athletes. One of the athletes just happened to be her sister Jamie, who won the gold medal in the first-ever snowboard slopestyle event.
“I never expected less because she’s won so many events in the last 10 years. She’s so good under pressure, she just has a natural ability to block out everything around her and do what she needs to do,” Anderson said. “I’m very, very proud of her. I never had any doubt that she couldn’t do it.”
Jamie’s parents and all but one of her seven siblings were able to travel to Sochi to root her on, in addition to Corrie’s daughter Kenzie, who attends Del Mar Heights School.
Corrie Anderson is a licensed massage therapist and holistic health practitioner and owns Mindful Movement and Manual Therapy. She does hands-on soft tissue therapies, including sports and deep tissue massage, structural integration and Asian healing arts. She is also a MELT method instructor, a self-treatment technique involving balls and foam rollers to help soothe sore muscles.
The method is perfect for elite athletes and Anderson treats several competitive skiers and snowboarders who spend summers in San Diego. She also travels to big competitions to work with athletes.
“It’s pretty hectic and they’re under a lot of pressure,” Anderson said. “It’s really nice that I‘ve been able to go to a few of [Jamie’s] events… it’s really special to be there for her.”
No event was bigger, though, than Jamie’s Olympic debut.
Corrie is the oldest of the Anderson siblings, a big family of six girls and two boys raised in Lake Tahoe.
Corrie has lived in Del Mar for two years, moving south in January 2012.
“I was tired of the cold weather,” Corrie said. “I’m the only one in the family that doesn’t like the cold and snow.”
Jamie has been competing for 10 years and is well known in the sport as a four-time gold medalist in slopestyle at the Winter X Games.
“Even when she was super young, snowboarding was all she ever wanted to do, it was just her everything,” Anderson said.
Jamie was one of the few snowboarding athletes who knew months ahead of time that she would be going to Sochi as her rank was so high. Others found out they made the team just two weeks before.
Due to travel logistics, such as the obstacles involved in getting a visa, Anderson said it was difficult for many of the athletes’ family members to be able to make the trip. The Andersons were fortunate to have some time to plan, especially since they had such a big group.
The family arrived five days before Jamie’s contest, which began Friday, Feb. 8.
“We wanted to get acclimated to the time change and I had some work to do with the athletes before the contest,” Corrie said.
The family wasn’t able to attend the Opening Ceremonies as tickets had skyrocketed to $1,800 apiece so they watched from a Sochi theater. Despite pre-event concerns about Sochi infrastructure being ready for the Games and threats of terrorism, the Andersons enjoyed their time in Russia.
“The city was beautiful and we felt really safe,” Corrie said. “All in all, it was a really great experience.”
It was quite a journey to the slopestyle event from where they were staying on the coast to the Rosa Khutur Extreme Park in the mountains, a three-and-a-half-hour train trip.
The Anderson delegation took up a big spot in the stands and their family’s story was highlighted on the NBC broadcast. Jamie’s gold medal run in the Feb. 9 finals included big air and flawless skill on tricks such as a Cab 10 tail, switch backside 450 indy and a frontside 720 mute.
“It was unexplainable, there’s not even a few words that can explain it,” Anderson said of the finals. “The excitement and the fear because she was in fifth place and she’s never in fifth place, the happiness and the energy of the whole contest.”
She said that, typically, snowboarding competitions are more spread out and having everything happening in a huge, fan-filled grandstand was very powerful.
Corrie said everyone in the family had the opportunity to hold the gold medal, which she said is incredibly heavy — at least five pounds — and has a piece of a meteorite in it.
After the event Jamie had to go on a 36-hour media tour and flew back from Sochi to Los Angeles on Sunday, Feb. 16. Corrie went to Los Angeles to see her sister appear on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Feb. 17 and will watch on TV as Jamie makes appearances on shows such as Good Morning America and Jimmy Kimmel Live.
“She’s really great in the spotlight,” said the proud big sister. “She’s so cute and the camera loves her.”