Anna Gasser was on the Austrian gymnast national team as a teenager, and then, she decided to compete in snowboarding at the age of 18.
She said, “I was looking for a new passion and found the perfect one for me in snowboarding.”
Anna winning her second gold medal in Big Air at the Olympics in Beijing is one of the most inspiring stories in professional sports.
Before the Olympics, one of her main sponsors produced a documentary on her unique rise to the top of the game. She tells the story of how her parents (and Austrian society) didn’t see snowboarding as a serious sport. She was told that it was impossible to make a living as an athlete unless she competed in traditional sports like gymnastics or skiing.
But her family always had her back and hid their doubts. And Anna did not disappoint them.
One year before winning her first gold medal, she got awarded as Austria’s athlete of the year. That was the moment her parents realized that she was onto something really big, as her mother explains in the documentary.
After winning a gold medal in 2018, Anna became one of the most influential athletes on social media and the face of women’s snowboarding. And all of that happened just a few years after she decided to give it a go.
It’s never too late to fulfill our dreams, and as Anna showed us, it’s also never too late to find out what our dream actually is.
But she is also no stranger to setbacks.
In 2014, she qualified in first place at the Olympic slopestyle competition—and then fell down the starting zone after a little miscommunication with officials. Sh*t happens, and it didn’t stop her from trying again.
In 2018, she was the first woman ever to land a so-called cab triple underflip, which is a triple overhead rotation with a switch takeoff. Sounds complicated, and it is.
Anna closed the gap and showed the world that women could keep up with their fellow male competitors. And guess who was filming it for her? Clemens Millauer.
She is in a relationship with Clemens Millauer, who is also a professional snowboarder. The two of them are basically the Austrian team.
Unfortunately, Clemens injured himself during a practice run at the 2022 Olympics and wasn’t able to be with Anna during the finals in Big Air. He posted a clip of him watching the competition from home in his Instagram story. Interestingly, he mumbled that she was going to win after seeing her body language in the starting zone—and she did.
Anna won her second gold medal.
She is already 30, but I am pretty sure she is going to aim for another medal in 2026.
She might win her third gold medal four years from now. And do you know who the only snowboarder who ever achieved this is? Shaun White.
Anna is an inspiration to women (and men) around the world. She is the living proof that it’s never too late to pursue our dreams. And Clemens is an inspiration to all men who aren’t afraid of dating a strong woman.
If you want to know more about Anna and her journey, I highly recommend watching the documentary “The Spark Within.”