Lindsey Jacobellis had the end line in sight, once more, The world’s most dominant athlete within the historical past of snowboard cross, she had been this manner many instances on the Olympics. She had by no means gotten there first, even again in 2006, when she had the result in herself and dedicated one of the best-known Olympics blunders in historical past.
She wouldn’t let gold slip away this time. Jacobellis discovered her storybook ending whereas delivering america its first gold medal on the Beijing Video games on Wednesday.
Jacobellis, 36, led the four-woman last from the beginning, her acquainted golden curls spilling out of her helmet because the riders spent 90 seconds navigating a winding course of banked corners, washing-board rollers and large jumps.
This time, when the end was in sight, Jacobellis stored her crouch low. As she crossed the road, she beamed an enormous smile and put her arms to her coronary heart, as if to carry it in.
“It type of simply appeared like an unbelievable second,” she mentioned afterward. “It didn’t appear actual on the time.”
The win will probably be painted as redemption for Jacobellis, although she has by no means seen her 2006 fall — when a untimely celebration value her a positive victory — as one thing to redeem. Again then, she was 20, a younger star within the making, the gold medal in sight. However over her final soar, with no opponents round, she added a little bit of aptitude within the air — a seize of her board. She landed on her heels and fell to her bottom, spinning thrice earlier than coming to a cease.
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Switzerland’s Tanja Frieden zipped previous earlier than Jacobellis might collect herself and experience to the end for second place, one of many extra unforgettable silver medals in Olympics historical past.
“The saddest snow angel within the Alps,” The New York Occasions wrote that day.
On the 2010 Winter Video games in Vancouver, British Columbia, Jacobellis swerved off course in a semifinal warmth and missed the ultimate. And in 2014, in Sochi, Russia, she was leading a semifinal warmth when she came upon a set of late-race rollers and missed the ultimate once more. In 2018, she returned to the ultimate, one other probability to seize a gold medal. She took fourth.
Between these public disappointments, she frolicked profitable World Cup trophies and world championships. When requested in regards to the Olympics, she persistently downplayed their significance. When requested about 2006, she by no means felt the necessity to clarify.
On Wednesday, requested about redemption — and at last capable of exult in a gold medal — she stored her feelings in verify. In spite of everything these years of attempting to depart 2006 behind, she was not comfy validating anybody’s notion of redemption.
“I by no means considered it that approach — that was not in my thoughts,” she mentioned. “I wished to simply come right here and compete. It might have been a pleasant candy factor, however I feel if I had tried to spin the considered redemption then it’s type of taking away deal with what’s the duty at hand.”
However the 2006 spill could have altered her life, she acknowledged, possibly greater than a gold medal then or now.
“It actually formed me into the person that I’m and stored me hungry, and actually helped me hold preventing within the sport,” Jacobellis mentioned. Had she gained gold then, she mentioned, “I most likely would have give up the game at that time, as a result of I wasn’t actually having enjoyable with it.”
Because the solar fell on her fifth Olympics, Jacobellis let others fill within the emotional gaps. Belle Brockhoff of Australia, a longtime buddy and rival, was among the many swarms of admirers congratulating her.
“She’s like, ‘I’m so completely happy that this occurred for you, as a result of I used to be little after I watched you in 2006,’” Jacobellis mentioned.
Her teammate Stacy Gaskill, 21, mentioned it meant all the pieces to see Jacobellis lastly win the highest medal. As Gaskill talked about her victory, she started to cry.
“I don’t assume there’s any phrases that may seize that second,” Gaskill mentioned. “For Lindsay to win in her fifth Video games and be on the pinnacle of this sport so lengthy and encourage so many younger ladies like me — she is the face of this sport.”
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/08/sports activities/olympics/lindsey-jacobellis-us-first-gold-snowboard.html Lindsey Jacobellis Wins 1st U.S. Gold of Beijing Video games