Snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis earns medal
A historic moment occurred for both the nation and the competitor when Lindsey Jacobellis, a U.S. snowboarder, won America’s first gold medal Wednesday at the Beijing Olympics..
The win came 16 years after Jacobellis crashed after failing an aerial trick. That cost her the inaugural Olympic women’s snowboard title in 2006.
Despite the fall, Jacobellis took the silver that year.
The 16-year stretch marks the longest gap between Olympic medals. In previous Olympic events, Jacobellis came in fifth in 2010, seventh in 2014 and fourth in 2018.
On Wednesday, the veteran snowboarder led the event all the way, taking the gold ahead of France’s Chloe Trespeuch and Meryeta Odine.
Jacobellis is a five-time world champion, two-time Crystal Globe winner, and eight-time X Games champion, and an Olympic gold medal was the only thing missing from her repertoire. The 36 year-old arrived in Beijing as the most successful snowboard cross athlete of all time. Jacobellis became the world’s oldest snowboarder to win a gold medal.
“It was never about redemption,” Jacobellis told Olympics.com about winning the gold 16 years after her fall. “I didn’t have that in my mind coming here. My thought going into this was, ‘It’s either going to happen or it’s not. It could be my day, or it could be another one of the ladies’ days.’ It just so happened that all the stars lined up for me for it to be my day,”
Jacobellis also discussed the 2006 incident with NBC. “They can keep talking about it all they want. Because it really shaped me into the individual that I am. It kept me hungry and really kept me fighting in this sport.”
“It doesn’t define you. Especially if you’ve made it to this stage, you’re a winner. And look at what you’ve learned from the experience, and take that with you later in life,” Jacobellis told NBC when asked what she would say to younger racers concerning mistakes of the past.
“I wanted to just come here and compete,” she said. “It would have been a nice, sweet thing, but I think if I had tried to spend the thought of redemption, then it’s taking away focus on the task at hand, and that’s not why I race.”
As of Wednesday afternoon, the U.S. won seven medals so far: one gold, five silver and one bronze.
And as of Wednesday afternoon, Germany led the gold medal count with five, followed by Norway and Sweden each with four golds. Host country China and The Netherlands were tied with three golds, followed by Austria, Italy, the Russian Olympic Committee and Slovenia all with two golds each.
Russian athletes continue to compete under the ROC name because Russia received a two-year ban from the World Anti-Doping Agency in 2019 for its state-sponsored anti-doping program.