Snowboarder Jacobellis gets redemption with Winter X Games gold
AP Sports Writer
ASPEN ” Standing at the starting line of the snowboarder X course, Lindsey Jacobellis could hear the announcers saying this was her chance at redemption, to make up for her falls at last year’s Winter X Games and the Olympics.
She couldn’t understand what they were talking about. When it comes to falls, Jacobellis has a real short memory.
Jacobellis proved it Saturday at the Winter X Games, holding off Swiss rider Tanja Frieden by .73 seconds for her fourth snowboarder X gold on the course where she famously crashed a year ago.
“If I didn’t do well in this event, it would just be out the door and I would focus on the next event because focusing on the past isn’t going to do any good,” Jacobellis said.
“It’s funny because all you hear at the top of the course was ‘oh, she’s out for redemption.’ Actually, no, I could care less.”
Jacobellis was one of the most-hyped American athletes headed into the 2006 Turin Olympics, her photogenic looks and dominating style making her a bankable star for sponsors and the U.S. Olympic Team.
That all changed in the closing seconds of the boardercross finals, when Jacobellis grabbed her board in what some viewed as a hot dog move and wiped out at the finish, crashing away what should have been sure gold.
Jacobellis had a chance at redemption ” at least in other people’s minds ” at last year’s Winter X Games, but, in an eerie twist, crashed at the finish in the finals to lose gold again.
But one of the things that’s made Jacobellis so great in her sport is resiliency. She followed the Winter X wipeout by winning the FIS World Cup season championship and has won eight more times after that, including a World Cup race in Austria earlier this month.
Winning on a big stage like the Winter X Games reinforces what Jacobellis already knew: She was over last year’s crash as soon as it happened.
“Most people really don’t follow the World Cup circuit. They just see this so they don’t really know what’s going on in my life and they just remember things that happened last year,” she said. “I could hear you guys (the media) playing the clip over and over and over. I think all my sponsors should be raking in the money because they had so many takes of me falling, but it was really good to come out strong this time.”
Andreas Wiig surprised a few people by winning Winter X gold in the superpipe last year. Winning a gold in another discipline proves it wasn’t a fluke.
The Norwegian solidified his standing as one of the world’s best snowboarders, beating Shaun White and his broken board in slopestyle for his second Winter X gold.
“This one feels even better,” said Wiig, who won with a first run that earned him 92 points. “It proves last year wasn’t just one year. Hopefully I’ll keep it going.”
White’s chances for a record-tying seventh Winter X gold took a hit before the event even started.
The Olympic halfpipe gold medalist cracked his board while warming up and tried using it on his first run, but was unable to dig in his edges and bobbled a few of his landings. He was third after the first run and couldn’t better it with a new board, getting bronze after leading qualifying with a near-perfect 95.
“I’m really stoked on winning,” Wiig said. “He’s a real good rider. It wasn’t his day today. He didn’t get his run perfect as he did in qualifying. It feels good to have gold.”
Nate Holland made it a three-peat in men’s snowboarder X, avoiding a late-race crash that included Olympic gold medalist Seth Wescott. “It gets sweeter and sweeter,” Holland said. “I don’t how exactly how it all works out. It just happens to work out like that and I’m super fired up.” … Jamie Anderson won her second straight slopestyle gold, recovering from a fall on her first run to score 90.66 points on her second. “It’s way scary when you fall on your first jump. It was stressful,” Anderson said. “I just listened to my music, my iPod, and got into a zone.”
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