When will Lindsey Jacobellis get a break? Yes, she had one of the biggest fumbles in Olympic history in Torino when she started showboating during her winning run, pulling a method in the air and subsequently losing her balance and giving up the lead. Jacobellis lost a gold medal that 2006 and only brought home silver. There are multiple YouTube clips of her crash, all with thousands of views, and for many the image of her major mistake plays like a broken record in our memories.
Flash forward four years. Jacobellis, 24, has admitted her mistake and she’s moved on. Which begs the question, when will we?
The short answer is simple. We won’t be satisfied until she redeems herself on another Olympic stage. Her shot will come next month now that she’s officially been named to the U.S. Olympic Snowboard team for Vancouver.
But here’s the rub. No one seems to recognize Jacobellis’ accomplishments, including five Winter X Games gold medals in women’s snowboard cross, two world champion titles and 19 World Cup race victories. She has won the most events in female snowboard crosser history and it’s not a record that will be beaten any time soon.
Nope, people only remember what happened four year’s ago at the Olympics.
While the majority of the world takes notice of snowboarding every four years, endemic circles of snowboarding don’t consider the Olympics the end-all be-all of competition. These athletes are on the snow every year proving their worth in heavily touted competitions such as the Winter X Games (currently taking place in Aspen, Colo.) and the Burton U.S. Open of Snowboarding. Snowboarders such as Travis Rice and Jamie Anderson may never have graced an Olympic podium, but they are held in the highest respect of the sport, more so even then some of our former, and current, American halfpipe Olympic medalists.
While the world watched the Beijing Olympics in 2008, Jacobellis was training hard for last year’s super bowl of snowboarding, Winter X Games. She took first place, and made it look easy, just like she did at the X Games the year before.
Now, with Vancouver approaching, Jacobellis is in Aspen gunning for a gold-medal three-peat at Winter X Games.
“I have the same goals and expectations going into any competition,” Jacobellis said. “I want to try and do my best, I want to win, and I want to try and represent my country well.
“I look at Vancouver as the opportunity to try and go for gold.”
And when asked, like she has been every single day this season, if she is hoping to redeem her 2006 Olympic blunder, she just smiles and repeats, “I look at Vancouver as the opportunity to try and go for gold.”
Point made. In her heart and within her own sport Jacobellis has already redeemed herself. And while a heartwarming story out of Vancouver would be nice, Jacobellis isn’t competing with that in mind. She’s doing it because she loves her sport, and loves to compete.
“If you fall, or make a mistake, you never stop trying until you cross the finish line because anything can happen,” Jacobellis said. “And always really put your heart into what you love.”
Watch Jacobellis’ Winter X Games performance this weekend on ESPN2, Saturday at 4 p.m. ET.
Photo: How via Getty Images Sport