Perseverance WinsMar 01, 2022 09:42AM ● By Shannon Mc Kenzie
Four years ago this month, my publisher’s letter was about how I loved the Winter Olympics and had been following women’s snowboard cross ever since its debut in 2006, when Lindsey Jacobellis, with a very comfortable lead, did a premature alley-oop right before the finish line, fell and got the silver instead of the gold. I remember the announcer at the time being outraged, and I suspected Jacobellis would never hear the end of it.
At the age of 32, she competed in the 2018 Olympics but still finished with only the silver from 2006 under her belt. I assumed those Olympics were her last, and I was sad that the gold medal had eluded her. So I was quite surprised a couple days ago when I heard her name in the semifinals. It was incredibly hard to watch (and yet impossible not to watch) because for the fifth Olympics in a row, I was so wanting her to win the the top medal. To make a long story short, she did it; she won the gold! And not just one: She also won the gold along with her teammate Nick Baumgartner in the debut of the mixed team snowboard cross. After five Olympics, at the age of 36, she finally won gold—and two of them. And for Nick Baumgartner, it was four Olympics, at the age of 40. As Team USA’s oldest member, he finally won a medal—and it just happened to be gold.
For me, this is a full-circle story tied up with a nice bow. Such perseverance, and a goal is reached after well over a decade. You can watch Lindsey Jacobellis’s final leg of the mixed team final here: www.tinyurl.com/2022MixedTeamFinal. It’s quite exciting, and the best part is that on the final jump, if you find the right clip, you’ll see that she grabs the edge of her board—I interpret it as a mini alley-oop, maybe a message to the critics of an indiscretion 16 years ago, a way to say, “I did it and I’m celebrating.” Whatever it was, it made me smile.
Wishing you the luck of the Irish this month of St. Patrick’s Day.