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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Winter Olympics spoiler alert: Women's Snowboardcross

AP National Writer

Article on women's snowboardcross.

WEST VANCOUVER, British Columbia — No gold for Lindsey Jacobellis this time, either.

No medal at all, in fact.
And once again, no one to blame but herself.
Looking to redeem herself after giving away a victory four years ago, Jacobellis’ return trip to the Olympics was even worse. Early in her semifinal race on the snowboardcross course Tuesday, she lost her balance on a jump, wobbled and skittered to try to regain her balance, but clipped the outside of a gate.
She raised her hands in disbelief, then clasped them over her helmet. The most dominant rider in the world for most of the last decade didn’t even make the medal round.
This time, the gold went to Canada’s Maelle Ricker, who easily defeated Deborah Anthonioz of France in the final. Olivia Nobs of Switzerland won the bronze.
Even in Canada, where they were celebrating their second gold medal of the Olympics, nobody thought the story would end this way.
Nobody in Canada was complaining, of course. Ricker is the top-ranked rider in the world this year, who had her own making up to do because of that 2006 Olympic final.
Long before Jacobellis hot-dogged a jump, fell and blew her huge lead, Ricker lost her balance and went careening off the course and into the netting. She had to be taken off the course on a stretcher with a concussion, and four years later, she says she doesn’t remember much from that day, but felt like there was some unfinished business to take care of.
With Jacobellis out of the way, the final was a breeze. After Helene Olafsen of Norway wiped out early in the race, Ricker took a huge lead on Deborah Anthonioz of France — think Jacobellis in the 2006 final — and did nothing to mess it up. Olivia Nobs of Switzerland took bronze.
Moments earlier, in one of the most cruel ironies of the whole day, Jacobellis enjoyed a similar finish. But that was in the fifth-place race, the race that the semifinal losers are relegated to — and certainly not one Jaco thought she’s be participating in on this day.