Jamie Anderson knows what it feels like to win a gold medal — she has done it twice. She also knows the feeling of being watched by millions as she is whisked around by a professional ballroom dancer on Dancing with the Stars.
Those achievements are rare for any resume, but Anderson’s portfolio includes another footnote: being fired by the future president of the United States.
Shortly after winning her first gold medal at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, Anderson appeared on Celebrity Apprentice, where she was fired by Donald Trump. In an interview with UPI on Wednesday, she recalled the environment on the reality show as “toxic.”
But she was happy to use the opportunity to bring the issues presented by climate change to Trump’s attention, through playing for the charity Protect Our Winters.
“I knew it would kind of bother Donald Trump because he publicly says he doesn’t believe in that,” Anderson said. “So it was kind of fun to bring some light to climate change. I’m a winter athlete. I’m traveling to all of these places around the world and I’m seeing firsthand huge changes. To be able to kind of stand up to him and bring some light to that was really a good time. And learning all of the business that I had never practiced before .. and making money for charity was all good fun.”
She did persuade him to support her cause: Trump sent POW a $5,000 check after Anderson left the show.
“Donald was very respectable,” Anderson said. “He didn’t really fire me in a rude way. … He even came up to me once the cameras were gone and congratulated me and thanked me for coming and told me he was still going to give my charity money.”
Anderson, 27, took her snowboard to the mountains in Pyeongchang, South Korea, in February, winning once again.
“It was a lot more intimidating going back trying to win than it was going to my first Olympics as a favorite,” Anderson said. “You wouldn’t think it would bother you so much until you are in your hometown and every single person is telling you to bring home gold.”
She came home to Lake Tahoe with gold and silver medals — the first female snowboarder to win more than one Olympic gold medal.
Anderson barely had time to remove her board straps before she was being fitted for dancing apparel. She was eliminated from Dancing with the Stars after one episode.
“I knew it would be a lot of work,” she said. “I never had dancing in the ballroom or any of those styles. … But I loved every part of it. Even getting kicked off early I was okay with. Because I enjoyed watching and taking a little time for myself.”
Anderson couldn’t attend the White House gathering of Winter Olympians in April due to a work obligation in Norway. She said she hasn’t stayed in touch with Trump, but remains in contact with former Celebrity Apprentice contestants Johnny Damon and Shawn Johnson.
“A little part of me was happy for the experience but it was such a toxic environment with all of the other celebrities that were kind of all about drama and things that don’t interest me,” she said of the show. “I was happy to go back to the mountains and hang out with more like-minded people.
Now Anderson is working with Downy Nature Blends, promoting environmentally friendly products and eating plant-based foods. But she hasn’t stopped working to raise money to fight climate change. She is raising funds for her Jamie Anderson Foundation in order to build a new skate park, plant trees and help get children into sports through donations.
Anderson has snowboarding events planned for August and September in the Southern Hemisphere.