Lindsey Jacobellis Wins First Olympic Gold Medal 16 Years After Earning Silver at Her Games Debut


The top spot was a long time in the making, but the wait didn’t make it any less sweet. On February 9, snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis won gold in the snowboard cross at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, etching her name in the history books for quite a few reasons: Her victory made her the oldest medalist in snowboard cross at 36, the oldest woman from Team USA to win Winter Olympic gold, and the third woman to win more than one Olympic medal in the event, according to Team USA.

A five-time Olympian, Jacobellis earned the top spot in the event in front of France’s Chloe Trespeuch and Canada’s Meryeta Odine. Her victory marked Team USA’s first gold medal at the 2022 Beijing Games, ending a five-day streak of no first-place finishes.

“This feels incredible because this level that all the women are riding at is a lot higher than it was 16 years ago,” Jacobellis said to Team USA. “So I felt like I was a winner just that I made it into finals, because that’s been a challenge every time.”

Jacobellis earned her only Olympic medal—up until this 2022 run—at her very first games in Torino back in 2006. Then, she won silver: She was ready to clinch gold, but a too-soon celebratory final jump caused her to fall, pushing her back into second place. Coverage of her “blunder” was immense at the time, and has continued to resurface, especially at the Olympics. To deal with the pressure that comes with it, she started working with a mental skills coach, as she told The New York Times before the 2018 Games.

“Now it’s a little bit easier to forgive myself because now you understand, maybe, why you did something when you didn’t know the rhyme or reason for it,” Jacobellis told the outlet. “It wasn’t an insult to the country. It was just me being a teenager and trying to express myself and having fun snowboarding and being lost in the moment.”

Sixteen years later—the longest gap between medals for any U.S. woman, NBC reports—she finally reached the top of the podium. And while there’s an urge to frame this as a redemption story, she’s quick to set the record straight.

“I never thought of it that way—that was not in my mind,” she said after the event, according to The New York Times. “I wanted to just come here and compete. It would have been a nice sweet thing, but I think if I had tried to spin the thought of redemption, then it’s kind of taking away focus on what’s the task at hand.”

According to Jacobellis, the incident in 2006 shaped her as an athlete, and “really kept me fighting in this sport.” She wants the younger generation of snowboarders to know that situations like that don’t define who you are.

“Especially if you’ve made it to this stage, you’re a winner,” she said to NBC. “And look at what you’ve learned from the experience, and take that with you later in life.”

The Olympic gold adds just another layer to Jacobellis’s already-stellar snowboarding resume: She entered her first X Games at the age of 15, and made her Olympic debut five years later. Along with appearing in five Olympics, she also dominated on the world championship stage, winning six world championships in snowboard cross spanning from 2005 to 2019.

Snowboarding continues at the 2022 Winter Games with the women’s half-pipe final on February 10, mixed team snowboard cross on February 12, and women’s big air on February 14. Here’s what you need to know about all the snowboarding events!


  • A 15-Year-Old Just Became the First Woman to Land a Quadruple Jump at the Olympics
  • Eileen Gu Wins Gold in First-Ever Olympic Big Air Ski With Daring Final Trick
  • 12 Team USA Athletes We’ll Be Watching at the Winter Olympics

Read More

You might also like

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More