CYPRESS MOUNTAIN, British Columbia -- Furlongs ahead of the woman behind her,
Unlike her howler from four years ago, the pratfall seen 'round the world, the foul-up that became a cautionary tale -- an advertisement for the pitfalls of premature celebration -- Jacobellis wasn't celebrating anything this time. She wasn't leading a race and hadn't performed an extraneous method grab when she biffed at the end of a training run late last Sunday afternoon.
"OOOoooh! I hate that," winced Canadian rider
Unlike her fall at Torino, Jacobellis, who is now 24, stayed down for a while, and could be seen sobbing as teammates came to her aid. Jacobellis, who has put up a wall between herself and reporters since the team's introductory press conference way back on February 10, wasn't talking last Sunday either, although her eyes were red-rimmed as she went by.
"Happy Valentines Day!" I told her. She smiled, but didn't stop.
"There's definitely a lot more pressure on Lindsey than there is on the rest of us," allowed 17-year-old
Lindsey Jacobellis is a good person who turns into a tiger shark when the gate drops. She's won a lot of races since handing the gold medal to Swiss rider
She's 24 now, but in a way she's still just a sweet kid. Even when she removes the spinal protector and shoulder pads rocked by all boardercrossers, there's still something guarded about her. That's been the case since Torino, where she seemed stunned by the blowback following her method gaffe, er, grab.
The community of shredders closed ranks around her.
Jacobellis didn't cop to the mistake right away, which didn't help. She talked about how she grabbed to stabilize herself in the air, but no one was really buying it. But the reaction was harsh -- particularly so, considering that Jacobellis was 20 at the time -- and her spontaneous decision to pull down a few style points that afternoon in Bardonecchia has followed her as resolutely as
Whoever wins today is going to have to be very good, and very lucky.
Not long before Jacobellis biffed last Sunday, the irrepressible Australian rider
Regardless of where Jacobellis finishes today, I just hope she has some fun out there. It would be nice to see her smile.
The (slightly sentimental) pick: