KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia – Eight years after the infamous crash that crushed her shot at a gold medal, Lindsey Jacobellis still isn't an Olympic champion.
The 28-year-old from Connecticut fell in her snowboardcross semifinals race Sunday afternoon on a perilous course at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park that knocked two riders out in qualifying and left a skicross racer with a fractured spine a day earlier.
Jacobellis was well ahead in her semifinal but spun out on one of the final turns.
"It was kind of like landing on mashed potatoes," Jacobellis said.
Jacobellis, who grabbed her board on the final jump of a race at the Turin Games she led handily, crashed and stumbled to silver, sought to blot out the memory of the moment with a redemptive ride at the Sochi Games. Despite having the second-fastest qualifying time, that did not happen.
"Winning the gold here," Jacobellis said earlier this week, "would actually make me look back more on my silver in 2006 and say, 'I'm glad I stuck with it and decided to do it because it made me the individual I am today.' "
Following a disappointing showing at the Vancouver Games four years ago in which she was disqualified before the medal round, Jacobellis missed nearly two years after a pair of ACL reconstructions. Upon her return, she was as good as ever, attacking dangerous snowboardcross courses with abandon and never apologizing for her style.
It's that style that makes her a favorite among snowboarders, for whom she grabbed her board during the wreck in Turin.
"I wanted to share with the crowd my enthusiasm," she said. "I messed up. It happens.''
It happened again Sunday. It wasn't as blatant. For Jacobellis, perhaps in her last Olympics, it may well have been as heartbreaking.
Click the photo below for more pictures of Lindsey Jacobellis' Sochi crash.
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