Three days after Lindsey Jacobellis became the oldest U.S. Olympian at age 36 to win a gold medal—in snowboard cross—she won her second in the new mixed snowboard cross team event. The Feb. 12 victory moved her to the second-oldest American gold medal winner as her teammate is 40-year-old Nick Baumgartner.
Jacobellis is from Roxbury, Connecticut, and is considered the most decorated female snowboard cross athlete of all time, dominating the sport for nearly two decades.
A five-time world champion and ten-time X Games champion, Jacobellis missed her golden Olympic opportunity at the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics, where she settled for silver after falling from a premature celebratory “method grab” while airborne.
“This was just the cherry on top,” said Jacobellis. “It was really exciting that we were able to team up and we’ve never actually been teamed up in a team event before. So I was really excited that everything went well today.”
Her partner, Baumgartner, from Iron River in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, played football at Northern Michigan University, and finally medaled in his fourth Olympics.
Baumgartner’s first World Cup victory was at Lake Placid in 2008. He took bronze in 2009 at the World Championships, and also won the World Cup in March 2011.
He also earned the Rookie of the Year honors in 2011 competing in the Traxxas TORC Series Off-Road Short Course Racing.
“My life is about trying to live without regret,” said Baumgartner. “I know my athletic career has an expiration date, like we all do, and it makes me work harder every year to make the best of the opportunities that I have.”
At the four-team finals, Baumgartner would come from behind to win the men’s opening relay, giving Jacobellis a .04 second head start for her final run.
In the deciding women’s final run on the 1,369-meter course, Italy’s Michela Moioli had her usual great start to take the lead ahead of Jacobellis.
Shortly thereafter, the Canadian and second Italian teams collided mid-air and fell; the Canadian team, Meryeta Odine and Eliot Grondin, would recover for bronze.
Previously in the semis, Jacobellis did not challenge Moili for the win, but guaranteed the U.S. team a place in the finals with a comfortable second, while following Moioli to observe her directional path.
Jacobellis, a 20-year veteran, patiently waited for the opportunity to eventually take the inside path on a turn to overtake Moioli late in the finals for the victory. Moioli and partner Omar Visintin claimed the silver medal.
“Oh my god, that was beautiful,” Baumgartner said to Jacobellis. “Another gold medal for you.”
Regarding Jacobellis’s falter at 16-years-old in Turin, “It shaped me into the individual that I am,” said Jacobellis. “It kept me hungry and kept me fighting in the sport.
It would take her fifth Olympics to win not only one, but two elusive gold medals.