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Throwback: When showboating Jacobellis endured Turin nightmare with gold in sight

BARDONECCHIA, ITALY - FEBRUARY 17:  Lindsey Jacobellis of the United States falls after a jump in the Womens Snowboard Cross Final on Day 7 of the 2006 Turin Winter Olympic Games on February 17, 2006 in Bardonecchia, Italy. Jacobellis was in first place before falling during this jump, causing her to come in second for the Silver Medal.   (Photo by Sandra Behne/Bongarts/Getty Images)

February 17, 2006

American snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis was on course to become the first Olympic gold medallist in snowboard cross.

At Turin 2006, the discipline made its Games debut and Jacobellis was the stand-out favourite to win gold.

She already boasted a hat-trick of Winter X Games titles in the event and in the Olympic final in Italy she proved herself to be in a class of her own.

With just one jump to go, her lead was a gargantuan three seconds and 43 metres ahead of her closest rival, Switzerland’s Tanja Frieden.

But rather than play it safe, Jacobellis opted for a grab on the final jump much to the initial delight of the watching crowd.

The then 20-year-old misjudged it entirely, landed on the side of her board and crashed. She hastily recovered but, by then, had lost all her momentum, allowing Frieden to scythe past for what had seemed the unlikeliest of gold medals.

At the time, Jacobellis had claimed the jump had been to aid her stability on the board but later admitted to reporters: “Snowboarding is fun. I was having fun.”

“Snowboarding is fun. I was having fun.”

She has continued to dominate the sport of snowboard cross but her Olympic misfortune has since shown little signs of improving.

The favourite for gold at both Vancouver 2010 and Sochi 2014, she was disqualified in the semi-finals of the former for hitting a gate. And again she failed to make the final four years later after falling in her semi-final when seemingly unchallenged.

She has, though, a fourth shot at PyeongChang 2018 in February to make amends and pick up the first Olympic gold of an already very illustrious career.

Having already visited the course there, she has said it plays to her strengths. Fourth time lucky perhaps?


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