Lindsey Jacobellis, who has widely been regarded as the best female snowboarder in the last ten years, fell again in semifinals on Sunday - making it her third Olympics games without a gold medal.
Jacobellis looked promising in the first round of qualifying for women's snowboarding cross, finishing second behind Eva Samkova (who ended up with the gold). The second round started strong, with Lindsey taking a far lead ahead of the pack, but a huge jump and a patch of soft snow took the pro boarder down, ending her 8 year dream of an Olympic gold medal.
Jacobellis' first spill was in Turin's 2006 Winter Games, when she was only 20. Four years later in Vancouver, she fell in semifinals, never seeing the last round. Sochi marks the second time she's fallen in a qualifying round and missed the finale. The slip-ups are especially unusual since Lindsey is the most successful cross rider the sport has ever seen, winning gold in the Winter X games a whopping eight times.
"I thought I was riding really well,” said Jacobellis, who ended the Sochi games in 7th place. “It’s just a fluke when things work out and when they don’t. I felt very calm and composed, very excited about this event because I really like the course. It just so happened to not work out."
“People don’t understand how much pressure is put on her,” said Faye Gulini, her American teammate. “It breaks my heart because I think it takes the fun out of it for her. It’s in her head, you know. I feel like people are so ready to see her fail. That’s not how things should be. She deserves a gold medal," Gulini said. "She's put in the time. She's talented. She's got it."
Americans Faye Gulini claims 4th and Lindsey Jacobellis claims 7th in snowboard cross. Still SO PROUD of these Women! GO#TeamUSA!
— Lauren Wellman (@Wellman_Lauren) February 17, 2014
When asked if we'll see her again in Pyeongchang, Lindsey left her answer open-ended, but it's probably a safe bet that she'll give it another shot. In four years she'll be 32, which is still a fair competing age - the Sochi silver medalist, Dominique Maltais, is 33. Here's hoping that her fourth Olympics bring her the gold she deserves.
Wow, Lindsey Jacobellis choked again. A hell of an effort in a very unforgiving Snowboard-Cross sport, but that's a tough finish. #Olympics
— Jonathan Paula (@JonPaula) February 17, 2014
Image via Wikimedia Commons