Skateboarder Andy Anderson sees rewards bigger than a medal at the Olympics
“It was the best possible scenario and the worst possible scenario.”
That’s how Canadian skateboarder Andy Anderson described the moment just before his final attempt to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics this summer. The Dew Tour in Des Moines, Iowa was the last event park skaters could land an Olympic quota spot, and after days of delays and rain stoppages, Anderson felt confident to get started. in the first of two practice heats before the semi-final.
Then he fell. Difficult.
“I had the worst slam in over a year,” the White Rock, BC resident told CBC Sports. “So I had to do my two runs on a broken knee.
The 24-year-old ended up tearing his meniscus. It was an unwanted ball of curve in a pressure cooker situation: Anderson had to finish in the top 16 to qualify for the Olympics, and his career best record so far was 24th.
“There was no way I would have skated unless all of that was on the line,” he said. “And if I fell while running, it would have destroyed my leg completely.
“So I had to land everything to get out of the bowl.”
And Anderson did, achieving two exceptional runs and even managing to elevate his tricks.
“To place high you need a spin – where you spin 360, 540 or 720 [degrees] in the air – or flip your board, “he said.” These are two things that everyone on the top charts can do and I haven’t been able to do those things.
“I focus more on balance and combinations of tricks.”
But Anderson had been practicing one particular flip – a skinny ariel heelflip – for a year and a half. This is an airborne maneuver where Anderson kicks his board to make it turn 180 degrees – while flipping it – then grabs the board in the air to return it under his feet to land on a steep slope.
He had never been able to land it consistently until a week before Dew Tour. And, despite the knee injury, he landed it in Iowa.
WATCH | Why a medal might not be part of Anderson’s plan:
“It was magical,” Anderson said. “I realized that if I put my front foot about three inches back on my board, it would just fit in my hand on every try.
“Two weeks before the Dew Tour, I was doing it one in five, two out of ten.”
His efforts were good enough for 11th place, a career best result and his ticket to making the Olympic debut of skateboarding. Anderson will be the only Canadian in the park event.
“[My knee] ended up giving me the pressure I needed to let go, “he said.” It was such a blitzkrieg of events that I’m still in shock about it all.
“I’m still dealing with what happened.”
Expects to be in good health for the August 5 event
Anderson said his knee should take about two to three weeks of rehabilitation to heal, so he will be in good health for the park event on August 5 at Ariake Urban Sports Park, the same location where the street skateboarding event will be held. location.
“It’s pretty funny because the only image of the Tokyo bowl I saw was on Instagram at the airport arriving in Des Moines,” Anderson said. “I focused so much on my participation in the Olympics that I didn’t spend time studying the park.”
But Anderson says it’s more than the bowl he needs to think about. It will take time after the Dew Tour to come up with an Olympic strategy, which is usually pretty straightforward for most athletes: perfect tricks and lines that will put them on the podium.
But for Anderson, who says getting to the Olympics is the greatest accomplishment of his life, it’s not that simple.
“Am I here to help skateboarding, to help spread creativity throughout the sport,” he said. “Or am I here to place the best and try to beat everyone?” “
And to complicate his thinking, Anderson may have to do a little of both. Only 20 skaters compete in the park event, and the preliminaries will not be as widely covered as the final. So to ensure an international audience, the athletes must make it to the final.
“So if my goal is to help skateboard through my run and get creative, I have to beat everyone to get to this point,” Anderson said. “So I have this moral dilemma that I’m going through right now and I have to have a very clear goal to prepare for it.
“And that goal is something that I’m still developing.”