ROSA KHUTOR, Russia — Team USA’s Alex Deibold waited patiently for the right time, making a strategic move late in the finals to take bronze in the Olympic snowboardcross on a rainy Tuesday in Rosa Khutor.
France’s Pierre Vaultier took gold with Russia’s Nikolay Olyunin silver, while veterans Nate Holland of Squaw Valley and Nick Baumgartner tied for 25th.
Rain falling on the course created wet and slow conditions for the riders as they navigated the banked turns and big jumps at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park venue.
“It’s the Olympic rings. These five rings, they don’t agree with me apparently,” Holland said. “Every Olympics for me has ended in a fall, and I felt great in all of them. But they give me a lot of drive, a lot of joy while I’m here, but also a lot of heartbreak at the end of the race.”
Rookie Trevor Jacob of Mammoth Lakes and Deibold went head-to-head in the semifinal, when Deibold barely sneaked by Jacob in the final and advanced to the big final. Jacob then advanced to the small final and rode into ninth place.
Jacobellis falls short
In the women’s snowboardcross, Faye Gulini of Salt Lake City placed fourth after a heartbreaking crash forced American medal favorite Lindsey Jacobellis out of the big final and into seventh on Sunday.
Czech rider Eva Samkova took gold, Canada’s Dominique Maltais silver and France’s Chloe Trespeuch bronze.
Jacobellis amassed a huge lead in her semifinal, but she wasn’t set up properly for a series of small rollers and got bucked. It was in one of the course’s flattest sections, preventing her from gaining her speed back. She then dominated again in the small final for an easy win to take seventh.
“There are worst things in life than not winning…a lot worse,” said Jacobellis, who had come back from two consecutive knee injuries. “Of course it’s very unfortunate that this didn’t work out for me. I trained very hard for this moment and it just didn’t come together, for who knows what reason.”