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Gold for Canada's Ricker; Jacobellis DQ'd in semis

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff  February 16, 2010 05:19 PM

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Update, 6:06 p.m. PST: Jacobellis did speak to the press approximately an hour after the end of the race.

She explained that she saw some family and friends she didn't know would be there, and felt compelled to greet them before meeting with the media.

Here are a couple of her quotes:

  • It's amazing to have had such a history in the sport and made such a significant mark. I'm only 23, and I've already accomplished so much. This is only one race. I just have to put everything into perspective."

  • "I've had a great career, but sometimes I dominate and sometimes I fall into a funk where things like what happened today happen. It's not the end of the world. But I guess I don't have the best track record with the general public."

    Update, 3:41 p.m. PST: Forget that part about quotes for now. Jacobellis didn't speak to the media in the mixed zone after the race. We imagine the USOC will provide some comments from her, and if they do, we'll post them here.

    We don't want to make too many presumptions here, but it is fair to wonder if Jacobellis has suddenly discovered a higher level of regret for her missed opportunity at gold in 2006.

    While she has dominated the X-Games and is regarded as the best women's snowboardcrosser in the world, the opportunity to call yourself an Olympic gold medalist comes around once every four years.

    It will be interesting to see if her mindset has changed, if this meant more to her than she let on all along, or if she simply shrugs it off as an element of the sport.

    One other note: Bob Ryan is writing a column on Jacobellis and the event for tomorrow's newspaper. Given his review of her performance in '06 -- I believe the operative word is "scathing" -- his take on today's development is already atop my morning must-read list.

    Update, 3:17 p.m. PST Canadian Maelle Ricker just gave the host country its second gold medal of the games, beating France's Deborah Anthonioz (silver) and Swiss racer Olivia Nobs (bronze) in the ladies' snowboardcross final.

    Jacobellis officially finished fifth. We'll have more from her, including quotes, in a little bit.

    Update, 2:56 p.m. PST Don't say we didn't warn you . . .

    There will be no redemptive gold medal for Lindsey Jacobellis in Vancouver. In fact, there will be no medal at all.

    Jacobellis clipped a flag and veered off course during the first turn of the second semifinal run, meaning she was disqualified. She immediately raised her arms and looked skyward, then grabbed her helmet with both hands, her disappointment and frustration evident.

    It's uncertain at the moment what caused her mishap -- she did not fall, but simply appeared to struggle with her balance briefly after a jump before slipping off the course.

    We should note that she showed a sense of irony for the moment:

    Completing her run to loud cheers from US fans well after the other three racers, she grabbed her board after going airborne over the final jump -- a similar move to "the Truckdriver grab" that caused her fall, and so much consternation, in Turin.

    Update, 2:43 p.m. PST Now that's how you make it look easy.

    Jacobellis breezed through the fourth qualifying heat moments ago, winning by roughly have the length of a football field. (That would be 50 yards, I believe.) There are now eight racers remaining as the first heat of two semifinal races is underway.

    The Jacobellis story, of course, is one of the more compelling -- and probably well-documented -- of these Olympics. During the Turin Games, she appeared to have a gold medal in hand during the sport's Olympic debut when she went for "method-air" style points on the second-to-last jump near the finish line, crashed, and wound up with the silver.

    She was roundly criticized for hot-dogging and taking it too casually ("It was just a race," she said), and the easy angle is that she's looking for redemption here. But there's a cameraderie-before-competition ethos of snowboardcross, and she never seemed particularly bothered by the mainstream perception.

    VANCOUVER -- So far, so good for Lindsey Jacobellis this afternoon during ladies' snowboard cross at Cypress Mountain.

    The same, however, can't be said for the course itself.

    Jacobellis, the 24-year-old Vermonter and Stratton Mountain product, finished second to Switzerland's Mellie Francon in each of her of two qualifying runs, completing the first in 1 minute 26.13 seconds and her second in 1:25.41.

    The qualifying runs have been delayed on a couple of occasions to repair problems on the course. The conditions on Cypress Mountain were sloppy and slushy yesterday during Maine native Seth Wescott's gold-medal performance in the men's event, and they are worse today, with fog and rain contributing to the problems.

    Workers toting shovels walk on to the course in between every run and fix divots and potholes as well as reshape the contours around the turns.

    The mishaps among the competitors have been limited and the cheering crowd -- many holding "Go Lindsey!" signs -- is undeterred, but the conditions are far from ideal.

    The quarterfinals are underway now. We'll be back at the top of this post with updates. Jacobellis is about to go now in the fourth heat . . .

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