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US wins its first gold medal at the Winter Games

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Lindsey Jacobellis captured the United States’ first gold medal of the Beijing Olympics on Wednesday, riding hard to the line in her snowboardcross final a full 16 years after a mistake cost her the title.The 36-year-old racer was competing in her fifth Olympics and captured the first U.S. win of what has been an otherwise dismal Games for the red, white and blue.The victory came hours after the top American racer, skier Mikaela Shiffrin, skidded out and failed to finish the first run of the slalom.Up until Wednesday, Jacobellis was best known for taking a massive lead into the final jump at the 2006 Turin Games but pulling on her board in a showboat move as she rode over the crest, then falling and getting silver.This time, she rode hard all the way to the line, beating Chloe Trespeuch of France, then covering her heart with her hands as she slowed. Meryeta O’Dine of Canada won the bronze. Since 2007, Jacobellis has amassed 45 World Cup podiums; 23 of those have been golds, and she had two third-place finishes coming into the Games.But that silver-medal Olympic performance has followed her, and she has largely chosen to stay out of the spotlight. At a media opportunity with all the snowboardcross riders last week, Jacobellis stayed back to concentrate on racing, her coach said.And while Shaun White and Chloe Kim can’t take two steps around this snowboard park without getting noticed, Jacobellis walked alone with a member of the U.S. staff a few hours before her final. Nobody even noticed.The trip back down the hill might be more crowded.

Lindsey Jacobellis captured the United States’ first gold medal of the Beijing Olympics on Wednesday, riding hard to the line in her snowboardcross final a full 16 years after a mistake cost her the title.

The 36-year-old racer was competing in her fifth Olympics and captured the first U.S. win of what has been an otherwise dismal Games for the red, white and blue.

The victory came hours after the top American racer, skier Mikaela Shiffrin, skidded out and failed to finish the first run of the slalom.

Up until Wednesday, Jacobellis was best known for taking a massive lead into the final jump at the 2006 Turin Games but pulling on her board in a showboat move as she rode over the crest, then falling and getting silver.

This time, she rode hard all the way to the line, beating Chloe Trespeuch of France, then covering her heart with her hands as she slowed. Meryeta O’Dine of Canada won the bronze.

Since 2007, Jacobellis has amassed 45 World Cup podiums; 23 of those have been golds, and she had two third-place finishes coming into the Games.

But that silver-medal Olympic performance has followed her, and she has largely chosen to stay out of the spotlight. At a media opportunity with all the snowboardcross riders last week, Jacobellis stayed back to concentrate on racing, her coach said.

And while Shaun White and Chloe Kim can’t take two steps around this snowboard park without getting noticed, Jacobellis walked alone with a member of the U.S. staff a few hours before her final. Nobody even noticed.

The trip back down the hill might be more crowded.



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