Lindsey Jacobellis, the Olympic snowboarder may be most known for the unnecessary maneuver during her penultimate jump of the snowboard cross costing her the gold in 2006 Winter Olympics. It’s the first fact listed after her vitals on Wikipedia. When I had the opportunity to interview Jacobellis via telephone on Friday I didn’t ask her about that move. I had heard her tactfully tell Bob Costas that she got caught up in the moment and it was part of the spirit of snowboarding. Apart from her mea culpa, what else was there for the 24 year old to say that she has not already said?
Jacobellis embodies the personality of a snowboarder. She started listing her travel plans which included crossing the country multiple times and visiting Europe to snowboard, see friends, surf and smile for sponsor photo shoots. She admitted that being a professional snowboarder is indeed at least as much fun as it sounds. “ Our sport has a lot of highs and lows but I can’t imagine someone having as much fun as I’ve had even when I’m done competing and riding.”
Lindsey treats the Olympics as she does her other competitions. The producer of the World Cup produces the snowboarding events in the Olympics so it feels familiar. The aftermath from the Olympics lasts longer than other events. Like the X Games, Jacobellis is intimidated (the two time silver medalist really describes something as intimidating) and needs to focus before competing. “But it’s really fun,” she added.
Because this was an Olympic year, the snowboarder had to find the balance of competing as much as possible without risking too many injuries. “There’re risks involved every time you ride because there are so many things you can’t control.”After a race in Switzerland where someone landed on the snowboarder, her trainer forced her to choose between competing in the X Games and the World Cup. She chose the X Games because it is so much fun.
Growing up Jacobellis credits her parents for encouraging her to pursue her passions from skiing to T-ball to lacrosse to snowboarding. When she had upsets in Little League, it was her parents who told her to keep trying, remember that there will be another opportunity.
It’s now her coaches who remind Lindsey that she is a great snowboarder. She knows she could have won gold in Vancouver but “it didn’t come together.” Sure she makes mistakes, some big like in Torino and others less blatant, but no one event defines her as a snowboarder. She still has passion and will continue to move forward. An attitude like that will continue to help her make inroads in snowboarding.
Thank you Vicks for arranging the call! Congratulations Lindsey on your two silver medals!