Accessibility links

Breaking News

'Having Fun' Costs American Snowboarder Gold Medal

Snowboarders are widely known to be carefree, but that free-spirited attitude cost American Lindsey Jacobellis the first-ever Olympic gold medal in women's snowboard cross.

The final in snowboard cross features four competitors racing against one another along a relatively narrow course that features various terrain, including jumps and even banked turns. It is not unusual to see one or more of the snowboarders fall, because they lose their balance, or even crash into one another.

In the women's final, two of the racers lost their balance and fell in the early going. American Lindsey Jacobellis, one of the best known athletes in the sport, took advantage by speeding to a huge lead. Perhaps feeling a bit too overconfident by what she thought would be an easy victory, she grabbed and twisted her board as she went over the next to last jump, but lost control and fell when she landed. A stunned Tanja Frieden of Switzerland went past and beat Jacobellis to the finish line.

Jacobellis explained what she was thinking.

"Well, I just went off the jump because I was having fun, and snowboarding is fun. And I was feeling great that I was ahead and, you know, I wanted to share with the crowd my enthusiasm. But, you know, I messed up and, oh well, it happens," she said.

Her coach, waiting at the finish line, fell over in disbelief when he saw what had happened.

Jacobellis had to field many tough questions after the event, but she says she is not bothered by the result.

"Yeah, I can move on," she added. "Its just a race. I still won a silver. That's still something to come here for. People would still trade in silver for, you know, no race at all. You know, I have a teammate who got hurt and wasn't even able to compete, so you have got to look at it that way."

Winning the bronze medal in women's snowboard cross behind American Lindsey Jacobellis was Canadian Dominique Maltais.

Snowboarding has one event remaining here the parallel giant slalom, which begins with the men's competition next Wednesday.