It's February 22nd, 2018, 11:53 AM. And time stops for a second.
The score comes up on the big screen. I take one deep breath and then it hits me: I won Gold in the Olympic Big Air contest! My friends come running towards me, my family, too, with tears in their eyes. Everyone is hugging and kissing me, congratulating, smiling. It feels like a dream.
I still get goosebumps thinking about this moment I will never forget in my life. My first Olympic Gold. If I’m completely honest, I was somewhat hoping for a medal in the Olympic Slopestyle contest as well, just a couple of days before. Unfortunately, conditions were not the best and the contest didn’t go as I hoped for. One more reason the Big Air Gold is a dream come true.
After they announce I have won the contest, everything goes super fast and I just try to hold on: the
flower ceremony, Q&A with journalists from all over the world, the
interview with Austrian ORF in their TV studio. Then a short break – I’m trying
to realize what’s happening at the moment and I still can’t believe it.
Afterwards there’s the ceremony where I officially get the Olympic Gold Medal. I
can’t stop smiling and I slowly but steadily realize it’s not a dream. I won.
All the practice, all the effort, everything I put myself through, it all
makes sense - everything I did got me here. I’m so incredibly thankful and soak
it all in.
I arrive at the Austrian house, where my family and friends are waiting for me already. More hugs, more kisses, more smiling faces. And then it’s party time! Together with other Austrian athletes and people from all over the world, we celebrate all night long.
On February 24th, I’m on my way back home. I watch the live stream of the Men’s Olympic Big Air finals in the airport lounge before I get on the plane to rest a little. I was told the celebration would continue as soon as I get back, but what really awaited me at home was more than I would have ever expected. More than 10,000 people are welcoming me in Salzburg. I do more TV shows and press interviews that I can keep count of. Then the reception in Millstatt, my home town. I receive so many badges and presents, and they announce the high school in Millstatt will be named Anna Gasser Volksschule. Red Bull is producing 1.5 million cans with my face on them, kids are singing a song they wrote for me, I get badges and plaques and everyone is happy with and for me.
Shortly after, it’s already time for the Burton USOpen in Vail. I make 2nd in qualifying. Due to windy conditions, we unfortunately can’t do the finals, but I’m super happy and grateful for taking home silver.
What happens next feels incredibly special to me: Donna and Jake are taking some other Burton team riders and me on some private shredding days. No cameras, no journalists. Just the Burton crew and a helicopter having fun in the pow, taking our minds off the crazy things that happened during the last couple of weeks. It all feels like a dream and I’m as happy as I can be.
The Spring Battle at Absolut Park in Flauchauwinkel marks the end of this year’s official contest season and turns into a personal highlight for me. I’m very happy to take home the win in the Women’s Slopestyle competition, but I’m even happier to celebrate my boyfriend Clemens Millauer’s win in the Men’s Slopestyle competition. For this weekend, we’re Austria’s “Gold Couple” and I’m very super stoked we’re celebrating together.
It just doesn’t get any better than this. Thanks to everyone for all your support and trust. There are so many little things that have to go right for me to be able to do my very best. I appreciate it all very much.