VANCOUVER, British Columbia — The Gaffe.
And now ... the Gate.
Lindsey Jacobellis and the Olympic gold medal are not destined to go hand in hand.
On Tuesday, Jacobellis, of Stratton, Vt., failed to reach the women’s snowboard cross final, going off the course in the semifinal round, nicking a course gate.
There was some tight jockeying on the upper part of the course with eventual gold medalist Maelle Ricker of Canada. Jacobellis came off the first jump and landed off balance, desperately trying to regain her line but ending up in contact with the gate, an automatic disqualification.
She made a helpless gesture and put her hands on her race helmet, having to make the long trip down the course.
Jacobellis, who was derided for her showboating four years ago at the Olympics, may have lost another shot at a gold medal but not her moxie. Not completely, at least.
She brought back memories of Turin, Italy — where she lost the gold medal when she grabbed her board, a move known as a “method grab,” and crashed, coming home with the silver medal.
Punctuating the lost afternoon, Jacobellis grabbed her board with both hands on the last jump, a move known as the “truck-driver grab.”
It practically took an all-points alert — via CB, if you want to stick with the truck-driving theme — to get Jacobellis to discuss the proceedings.
She did not stop to speak with the print media in the mixed zone but eventually relented and surfaced for a news conference much later, in part due to U.S. Olympic Committee officials’ powers of persuasion. She maintained she wanted to see her family and friends and needed to head over to doping control.
“It’s definitely not the end of the world for me,” Jacobellis said. “It’s unfortunate that the rest of the world only sees this race and the one four years ago.
“I guess I don’t have a great track record with the general public.”
Jacobellis said she went off line into the first bank turn and it all went downhill after that.
“My board just finally caught up, threw me in the direction of the panels. I was like, ‘Well, nothing you can do about it now.’ Sometimes you can’t control the things you want to. Sometimes I’m dominant, sometimes I fall into funks when things like that happen.”
Said Ricker: “I don’t think we clipped (boards). We were definitely really close right out of the start and I don’t know what happened to her. I don’t know where she went down. I just tried to stay on my line and focus what I was doing.”
Ricker had her share of difficulties too, crashing in the morning time trial during her first round but recovering enough to qualify under tough conditions. Morning fog delayed the start of the event and greatly marred the early proceedings.
This was a moment of sweet triumph for Ricker on home soil after a scary finish four years ago. In Turin, she crashed hard in the final and had to be transported by helicopter to a local hospital with a concussion.
Now she comes away with a gold medal, the first for a Canadian woman when the Olympics have been held on its home soil.
“It’s just crazy,” she said. “I’m pinching myself.”