Who is Lindsey Jacobellis? Accomplished snowboarder wins long-awaited Olympic gold

Lindsey Jacobellis is finally on an Olympic podium.

Jacobellis won the gold medal in women’s snowboardcross on Wednesday, cementing her legacy as the greatest snowboardcross athlete in history.

Going into the event, Jacobellis had apparently claimed everything in the sport except the Olympic gold medal. She came close on her first trip to the Games, at the Turin Olympics in 2006, but did a showboat towards the end and escaped, settling for the silver. She crashed out in two more races in the semi-finals and came close to winning a medal at the 2018 Winter Games.

“I felt like a winner just that I made it to the final because it was a challenge every time,” Jacobellis said after the race. “All of these ladies had the potential to win, and today I realized that my starts were good, my sliding was great and everything worked out for me today.”

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Sporting News looks back at Jacobellis’ career and how she went from her famous fall in 2006 to an Olympic champion in 2022.

How old is Lindsey Jacobellis?

Jacobellis is 36, and with her gold medal won in 2022, she’s making a lot of history to add to her already impressive resume.

She is the oldest snowboarder to medal at the Olympics and the oldest American woman to medal in a Winter Games event.

“It’s amazing because the level at which all women are riding is much higher than 16 years ago,” Jacobellis said after the race.

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The Turin Race by Lindsey Jacobellis

Jacobellis burst onto the snowboarding scene aged just 20 in 2006 and made it to the final round of snowboardcross at the Winter Olympics.

If she had won gold, she would have been the youngest gold medalist in the event.

Jacobellis took a huge lead in the event and only had two jumps to go to win the gold medal. But on her penultimate jump, she did a showboating, catching her board in the air as she attempted a celebratory gesture. The grip of the board caused her to lose her balance and she fell to the side of the course. She got up and finished second, but Switzerland’s Tanja Frieden had finished with the gold medal.

“They can keep talking about it all they want because it really shaped me into the individual that I am and kept me hungry, and really helped me keep fighting in the sport,” said Jacobellis.

Jacobellis was unable to make it back to the podium on several other trips to the Olympics. At the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, she was automatically disqualified in the semifinals and finished fifth overall. She looked closer to reaching the final at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, but crashed out and placed seventh.

She reached the final of the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics event but placed fourth with a time just 0.003 seconds off the podium and narrowly missed the bronze medal.

But while Jacobellis was short on Olympic medals before Beijing, she had plenty in the sport as a whole.

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The Achievements of Lindsey Jacobellis

No athlete has dominated snowboardcross like Jacobellis has throughout her career, and the medal she won was just the icing on the cake of her already historic success.

Jacobellis has won six gold medals at the FIS Snowboard World Championships, by far the most in snowboard cross. Alex Pullin and Xavier de Le Rue have two each for the men, and Karine Ruby has three for the women.

Additionally, she has also won 10 Winter X Games gold medals and 30 individual World Cup wins.

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