Less than three days after capturing an elusive individual gold, five-time Olympian Lindsey Jacobellis claimed another Saturday in the Games debut of mixed team snowboard cross with Nick Baumgartner. The two American veterans, a respective 36 and 40 years old, are the oldest medalists in Olympic snowboarding history.
In falling snow and temperatures in the teens, Baumgartner beat out Canadian Eiliot Grondin in the men's section of the big final, and Jacobellis followed up with a triumphant victory over Italy's Michela Moioli, grabbing her board on the final jump in a full-circle ode to the infamous Torino moment that cost her a title nearly two decades ago.
"We came in hot today, we're really excited about it," Jacobellis said. "To be able to take this with someone I’ve been on the team with for over a decade – close to two decades now with Baum – it’s incredible to accomplish this together."
Baumgartner was ecstatic having suffered heartbreak Thursday with an early quarterfinal exit in the men's individual event, despite entering as medal contender. The oldest U.S. athlete at the 2022 Games, Baumgartner's gold earns him his first medal in four Olympic appearances.
"These tears are so much better than the ones from the other day," he said. "It’s days like that when you’re bummed out and you’re disappointed that make days like today so amazing. That’s why when you have that adversity, you can’t quit. You keep going because the good things are coming."
In the semifinals, Baumgartner got out to a great start with Italian Omar Visintin and crossed the finish in a virtual tie. With no advantage for either team in the women's section, Jacobellis sat comfortably behind Moioli as the two easily progressed to the big final. Italy's No. 2 team of Lorenzo Sommariva and Caterina Carpano won the other section.
Earlier in the quarterfinals, Baumgartner stuck behind Adam Lambert of Australia in the beginning before the two were passed by Lambert's compatriot Cameron Bolton. Starting the latter leg in second, Jacobellis avoided two crashes from Australians Josie Baff and Belle Brockhoff to win the race and advance. Brockhoff was taken off the course by stretcher.
The No. 2 U.S. team of Jake Vedder and Faye Gulini did not make it out of the round. Grondin dominated the men's section, and Vedder clipped the back of Frenchman Merlin Surget's board on the second turn and went down, but caught back up to take third. In the women's race, Gulini lost to Canada's Meryeta Odine for the second spot, and the ROC won.
Italy's Visintin and Moioli won the first quarterfinal, which only featured three teams rather than four due to the field's odd number of 15, while Great Britain's Huw Nightingale and Charlotte Bankes took the victory in the fourth and last heat.
Mixed team snowboard cross is a relay-style event with pairs of one man and one woman competing in head-to-head heats of four. Men go first, and their results determine when the start gates open for their female teammates. The women's race then decides the overall outcome.
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