Renaissance rider Trevor Jacob crosses it up

Trevor Jacob ready to rock the stars and stripes in Sochi. Photo: Snowboarder Magazine/Aaron Blatt

Trevor Jacob, ready to rock the stars and stripes in Sochi; photo by Aaron Blatt/Snowboarder

Trevor Jacob isn’t just the newest addition to the American snowboard cross world; he also just might be the craziest. He has backflipped just about everything, from dirt bikes, BMX bikes, and wakeboards to mountain bikes, skis, and snowboards. He was the first person to do a double cork on a skateboard. He's done a backside 360 over a moving train (for which he was later arrested) and has skateboarded across the country (getting himself arrested again, this time for criminal trespassing on a Norfolk & Southern train).

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No stranger to performing in front of a crowd, Jacob's amazed Nitro Circus Tour audiences by absolutely sending gasp-inducing stunts—like backflipping a Big Wheels on the Mega Ramp. He survived a near-death dirt-biking bail with cat-like reflexes and uncanny air awareness at Nitro Circus ringleader/legendary daredevil Travis Pastrana's compound (see above video). And now, at the ripe age of 20, Trevor Jacob has landed himself front and center at what is perhaps the world’s biggest and oldest circus: the Olympics.

Trevor airing over the competition in Andorra. Photo: USSA

Trevor Jacob, airing over the competition in Andorra; photo courtesy USSA

From the minute he stepped onto the snowboarding scene, Trevor Jacob was one to watch. His sheer natural talent and willingness to try anything quickly marked him as a snowboarding prodigy, and as he became the youngest person ever to make the prestigious U.S. Open of Snowboarding halfpipe finals, it seemed about right. But snowboarding at such a young age and with so much outside pressure didn't keep Jacob happy for long. "Over time, I just started doing it for all the wrong reasons; I was getting burnt out on halfpipe and realized it wasn't for me," he told Snowboarder magazine.

This bores him. Trevor left a potentially lucrative career in halfpipe to pursue other avenues of fun. Photo: USSA/ Sarah Brunson

This bores him. Jacob left a potentially lucrative career in halfpipe to pursue other avenues of fun. Photo by Sarah Brunson/USSA

After all the sponsorship deals and obligations faded, however, Jacob realized that he still loved snowboarding and was ready for a new foray in the sport. "I always wanted to see how I compared to everyone in boarder cross, so I came up with a plan and went for it," he explains. That was two years ago. By his third snowboard cross race ever, the national championships, he was standing on top of the podium ahead of a slew of seasoned race veterans with the best résumés in the business.

And now he's one of them. Jacob was the first man to clinch a spot on the 2014 U.S. Olympic Team after winning the FIS World Cup in Andorra and is now a rookie favorite for a medal in Sochi. (Getting to train on a specially built snowboard cross course at his home resort of Mammoth Mountain, California, could have given him the edge.)

When asked what the difference is this time around the competition circuit, Jacob beams with the passion and excitement of child. ""I've never actually worked this hard at a goal, and to make that goal come true and be here at the Olympics is amazing," he told USA Today. "The fire is here for boarder cross. It was never really there for halfpipe … but this is something super meaningful and I can do it for the right reasons."

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