Lindsey Jacobellis, Nick Baumgartner Win Historic Gold In Olympic Debut Of Snowboard Cross Team Event
by Justin Limoges
Lindsey Jacobellis and Nick Baumgartner celebrate during the snowboard cross mixed team finals flower ceremony at the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 on Feb. 12, 2022 in Zhangjiakou, China.
ZHANGJIAKOU, China – Lindsey Jacobellis and Nick Baumgartner made history Saturday by winning gold in the Olympic debut of mixed team snowboard cross at the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022.
The pair earned a spot into the big final after climbing through the elimination bracket of 15 teams on a snowy day in the mountains at Genting Snow Park.
All stages of the event started with the men up top followed by the women, who carried over any time advantage gained from when their partners crossed the finish line. The women then start their runs staggered and whoever crossed first wins.
Baumgartner, who is the oldest U.S. Olympian competing in Beijing at 40 years old, took first in the men’s heat during the big final, gaining Jacobellis a slight 0.04 advantage heading into the last run. The four-time Olympian sailed into first place after passing his competitors off one of the jump features.
“In a sport like snowboard cross that’s unpredictable, it takes the experience to be able to predict even the littlest things because we’ve seen so much, we’ve been through so many heats,” said Baumgartner, regarding the race. “That’s what allows us to stay competitive so long. There’s no other snowboard event that you could be competitive at 40 years old. And now [we’re] not only competitive, but we’re the ones to beat today.”
Jacobellis, 36, used her experience during the women’s run to come back after falling slightly behind to win the final heat by 0.20. Italy’s Omar Visintin and Michela Moioli followed by 0.24 to take silver while Canada’s Eliot Grondin and Meryeta Odine claimed bronze 23.43 behind Baumgartner-Jacobellis after taking a fall earlier in the run.
Lindsey Jacobellis competes during the snowboard cross mixed team quarterfinals at the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 on Feb. 12, 2022 in Zhangjiakou, China.
The five-time Olympian closed out Beijing 2022 with her first two gold medals of her extensive Olympic career. Jacobellis won the women’s individual gold – and Team USA’s first – on Feb. 9, which had evaded her since she earned silver at the Olympic Winter Games Torino 2006.
“It’s a pretty incredible thing to be able to come and get a gold medal with a longtime teammate,” Jacobellis said. “We’ve definitely been through a lot, and we’ve seen each other’s ups and downs in our struggles. So, to be able to come together and work as a team and learn from each other on how the courses were changing with speed, I thought we did great today in our execution and had a lot of fun.”
Baumgartner also had a longstanding quest for an Olympic medal. His closet chance was a fourth-place finish at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.
The Iron River, Michigan, native came into Beijing with that goal in mind but came up short finishing 10th in the men’s individual race. After the race, he emotionally proclaimed that “I ain’t stopping on this. I’ve got to do something better to end with. I just feel bad.”
In a turn of events, Baumgartner made the difference during the mixed team big final and “did something better to end with.” His gold-medal performance made him the oldest snowboarder to win an Olympic medal.
“I think for any athlete, getting pushed out by the younger generation is a feeling that really sucks,” Baumgartner said. “So for us to go out there and put our stamp of approval on it [is amazing and says] that we’re not done yet. We just got to work a little bit harder, and we’re willing to put that work in. So, it’s a good feeling.”
Snowboarders Faye Guilini and Jake Vedder, who finished 13th and sixth, respectively, in their individual races, competed as the second Team USA contingent in the mixed team event. They finished top nine after failing to make it out of the quarterfinals.
Justin Limoges is a 2020 sports communication graduate from Bradley University, originating from Newport, Vermont. He is a digital media assistant for Team USA.