At the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, American snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis is poised to join a very elite club.
Jacobellis, 36, is set to join fellow snowboarder Kelly Clark (2002-2018) and cross-country skier Kikkan Randall (2002-2018) as the only American women to compete at five Olympic Winter Games. Skeleton athlete Katie Uhlaender – who has not yet qualified – could also achieve this feat in Beijing.
(Note: American speed skater and three-time Olympic medalist Amy Peterson made five Olympic appearances, but speed skating was only a demonstration sport when the debuted in 1988.)
Jacobellis secured her U.S. Olympic roster spot by recording back-to-back third-place finishes at this weekend’s snowboard cross World Cup in Krasnoyarsk, Russia. (Video is embedded above.)
Jacobellis is one of the most dominant snowboarders of all-time, in any discipline. She won 10 X Games titles before snowboard cross was nixed from the competition in 2016, plus five individual world titles (the last one came in 2017).
The Connecticut native has had less success on the Olympic stage, with her only medal (a silver) coming at the 2006 Torino Games when she infamously lost her lead in the final after going for a celebratory board grab. Most recently, she finished fourth at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics.
Jacobellis has spoken about the scrutiny that Torino fall received. “I’m sure we can go into everyone’s past 12 years ago and pick out something that they coulda, shoulda, woulda done,” she told the New York Times in 2018. “It’s just mine was on a world stage that people have a hard time forgetting, or they just think that’s the only thing that’s happened or that it defined me as an athlete.”
The athlete who capitalized on Jacobellis’ blunder in 2006 – Switzerland’s Tanja Friedman – retired ahead of the 2010 Vancouver Games with her Olympic gold medal as her only title in the sport.
One of the differences between Jacobellis’ first four Olympic appearances and the upcoming Beijing Games is that – for the first time in her career – she is not among the favorites for Olympic gold.
While Jacobellis has remained competitive in recent years, her last World Cup win came in 2019 and she finished off the podium in the individual snowboard cross event at both the 2019 (fifth) and 2021 World Championships (ninth).
The current gold medal favorite is World Cup leader and reigning world champion Charlotte Bankes of Great Britain.
MORE WINTER OLYMPICS NEWS: Meet the 49-year-old speed skater set to become the oldest female Winter Olympian
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