We had a small checklist of things we wanted to see go down at these Olympic Games, at the top of the list was seeing Lindsey Jacobellis redeem her 2006 Olympic performance—she took home silver that year, but in her case, second place really was the first loser. We all know she pulled a method on the last hit, fell, and got passed at the finish line. What followed was a virtual lynching by the media accusing her of "showboating" and harming our medal count. Admittedly, even snowboarding took a stab at her in the DC Mountain Lab 1.5 opening skit—but that seemed to be in good fun. Not really the case with the post-Olympic accusatory headlines. We wanted to see her win here as a giant FU to those finger-pointing jerks, but we didn't get the satisfaction and sadly neither did she.
The course up at the doomed Cypress venue was foggy and rainy this morning. Qualifiers were delayed for two hours, and it was unclear whether competitors would only get one qualifying run or two, it was decided after the first run, when the clouds lifted, that they would get two. Good thing, otherwise Maelle Ricker would have never even made it into semi-qualifiers.
And so it went, the visibility improved, and Lindsey fell down in semi-qualifiers and crashed through a gate missing her chance to advance into the " big finals." She took a victory lap in the small finals starting in front and finishing in front for an Olympic fifth place. Maelle Ricker also got a victory lap of sorts in her big finals heat—she got a great start and left the rest of the field to battle for second. It makes sense that she wouldn't encounter the same challenges dealing with the rutted banks—she's a four-time Baker Banked Slalom winner—that's the exact training she needed to get this bumpy course dialed. It was awesome to see her ride to victory in front of all of Canada—congratulations Maelle on a well deserved win! If the posters, road signs, and banners around Vancouver congratulating Canadian Mike Robertson on his silver medal SBX win yesterday are any indication, she is in for a serious homecoming at tonight's medal ceremony.
As for Lindsey, the reporters have already started snorting their accusations at her, an article under the headline 'Another Olympic flub by Jacobellis' by AP Sports Writer Jaime Aron, starts off with: "Lindsey Jacobellis had to do it. Flying through the air toward the finish line, she reached down and grabbed her snowboard, the same showoff move that cost her a gold medal four years ago." Allright everyone—back off. Lindsey killed it two weeks ago at X Games in the heaviest course we've ever seen—she won it three times in a row from 2003 to 2005, and then again from 2008 to 2010. It's worth recalling that just yesterday 33-year-old Seth Wescott won gold in men's SBX—Lindsey is a young 24. She'll get it one of these days long after these irrelevant sports writers have dried up and blown away.
It's on tomorrow—men's halfpipe qualifiers and finals at Cypress. Check back on the Olympic Blog later tonight to see how tonight's practice went. It's last call for these riders and this pipe to step it up.
2010 Olympic Snowboardcross Finals
Gold—Maelle Ricker (CAN)
Silver—Deborah Anthonioz (FRA)
Bronze—Olivia Nobs (SUI)