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The elusive quest for Olympic gold

Though regarded as one of the greatest snowboard cross champions in history, American Lindsey Jacobellis is still waiting for her first taste of Olympic glory.

A pioneer in her sport

Born in Danbury, Connecticut, not far from the mountains of Vermont, Lindsey Jacobellis was 10 when she was introduced to snowboarding by her older brother at Stratton Mountain ski resort. Although she initially excelled in half pipe, she eventually devoted her attention to snowboard cross, a sport that came into being in North America in the early 1990s. Jacobellis was only 16 when she took part in the first major international snowboard cross competition, held at the 1997 X Games.

She went on to become the most successful athlete in X Games history, winning eight SBX titles between 2003 and 2014, during which time she also won three FIS World Championship crowns and two World Cup titles in her signature event. By the end of 2014 the American had racked up a hugely impressive 27 World Cup victories and a grand total of 40 podium finishes, statistics that have contributed to her becoming one of the most eminent figures in the short history of snowboard cross.

A tumble in Turin

By the time snowboard cross made its Olympic debut at Turin 2006 Jacobellis had turned 20 and was the world No1. Determined to prove she was in a class of her own, the American boarder sailed through the heats and then surged into the lead in the four-rider final. Way out in front as she approached the penultimate jump, Jacobellis attempted a method grab but lost her balance as she landed and fell, a few short metres from the line, allowing Switzerland’s Tanja Frieden to steal past her and become the event’s first Olympic champion. The American, who had to be content with the silver medal, later admitted she had got caught up in the moment: “I was having fun. Snowboarding is fun. I was ahead and I wanted to share my enthusiasm with the crowd.”

The quest for glory

Success also proved elusive for Jacobellis at Vancouver 2010, where she finished fifth overall after landing a jump badly in the semi-final and going through a gate, resulting in her disqualification. She fared no better at Sochi 2014, taking seventh place after crashing out when leading her semi-final race.

With only a silver medal to show for her efforts at three Olympics, the American is aiming for the top of the podium at Pyeongchang 2018, a long-overdue achievement for a rider that has made an indelible mark on her sport. “The sport is constantly evolving, and it’s something that I still want to be a part of and I love doing,” she says. “I know I have more life in this sport. I don’t want to just stop for any apparent reason. I want to almost do it until I cannot do it anymore.”



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Olympics Day 6 - Snowboard

TURIN, ITALY - FEBRUARY 17: Snowboard Cross Gold medalist Tanja Frieden of Switzerland (C), silver medalist Lindsey Jacobellis of the United States, and Dominique Maltais of Canada celebrate during the Medal Cereomony at the Turin 2006 Winter Olympic Games at the Medals Plaza on February 17, 2006 in Turin, Italy. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
play SB W Cross Event/222 SB W Cross Event_,0200,0400,0600,1200,1800,.mp4.csmil/master.m3u8

Tanja Frieden Wins 1st Snowboard Cross Gold Medal

In a thrilling finish, Tanja Frieden of Switzerland makes Olympic history, winning the first snowboard cross gold medal in the inaugural competition. Lindsey Jacobellis of USA leads most of the race but crushes after her penultimate jump losing her lead to Frieden, settling for silver. Dominique Maltais of Canada receives the bronze medal. Snowboard Cross Women's Final - Turin 2006 Winter Olympics - Tanja Frieden (SUI), Lindsey Jacobellis (USA), Dominique Maltais (CAN)
play SB W Cross Final/223 SB W Cross Final_,0200,0400,0600,1200,1800,.mp4.csmil/master.m3u8

Women's Snowboard Cross - Turin 2006

Switzerland's Tanja Frieden leads the snowboard cross. Lindsey Jacobellis (USA) and Dominique Maltais (Canada) get the 2nd and 3rd place.


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    Snowboard Cross women

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