Déjà vu for Jacobellis | AspenTimes.com

Déjà vu for Jacobellis

Jon MaletzAspen, CO Colorado
Paul Conrad/The Aspen Times

ASPEN We’ve seen this scenario before.Vermont’s Lindsey Jacobellis was out in front in Saturday’s Winter X boardercross final and was poised to capture gold. Countless competitors tried but failed to overtake the Vermont native as they neared the final hit and the finish. But one bobble – evoking a familiar, painful reminder of February’s Olympics – changed everything.Jacobellis soared over the final knuckle and, with arms flailing, landed hard on her edge. She tried to stay erect, but spun out of control as her head and back hit the snow. The miscue gave California’s Joanie Anderson, last year’s silver medalist, what little window she needed to pass and win.”I could tell she was squirming around,” Anderson said. “I stayed away from her and went off a little more to the right. I’m glad I wasn’t right on her tail.”

Jacobellis managed to slide across the finish line in second before paramedics surrounded the fallen boarder. Certain victory had once again slipped from her grasp.In Bardonecchia, Italy, Jacobellis was out in front and on her way to Olympic gold under Turin’s bright lights. A momentary lapse in judgment spelled disaster, however, when she attempted to cap her win with a celebratory grab on the final hit. She wound up catching an edge and falling, allowing Tanja Frieden to steal gold.Saturday’s crash is an all-too familiar reminder of the unpredictability of the sport, said Seth Wescott, Jacobellis U.S. Snowboarding teammate. Jacobellis could not be reached for comment.”That finish jump was weird,” he said. “If you’re speed changed at all, the amount that you popped would be totally different.

“[Lindsey] won the World Championships a couple weeks ago, so she’ll be fine. Boardercross is one of those sports where things can go wrong at any moment.”Jacobellis averted disaster during the course’s middle section when Anderson attempted to make a pass. The two bumped into each other, but somehow managed to stay upright.”It got a little scary there,” Anderson said.Anderson continued to stay close behind Jacobellis as the pair neared the bottom and patiently waited for an opening. It took a mistake from her competitor, but Anderson managed to seize the lead.

“My grandpa said he wanted nothing but gold medals and blue ribbons this weekend,” said Anderson, whose sister, Jamie, won women’s slopestyle Saturday morning. “This feels good. The last time I beat Lindsey was five or six years ago.”Karlinski impresses in first finals appearanceWhistler, British Columbia’s Maelle Ricker followed up a gold medal winning performance last year by taking the bronze. And Snowmass Village local Jordan Karlinski impressed in her first X Games boardercross final, taking fourth. She finished 12th and 10th in two previous appearances.Karlinski was last out of the hole shot in the first of two women’s semifinals. She bided her time until two competitors were entangled and fell, and then moved into contention for the third and final qualifying spot. By the time she reached the final knuckle, Karlinski had caught up to Alaska’s Callan Chythlook-Sifsof, who occupied third. Karlinski made a daring move to the right to push ahead.

“I went to the right where the jump was a little shorter, and she was just to the left of me,” Karlinski said. “It was a little scary over that first knuckle. We could feel each other in the air. Halfway through, we were hugging in the air. It was hectic.”The final followed a similar script. Karlinski trailed the field after the hole shot, but moved up after a fall by Frieden. She managed to finish fourth despite failing to clear the final knuckle. The 17-year-old said she’ll gladly take fourth in exchange for two bruised eyes and a sore wrist.”I’m so happy. Making the final was my goal,” she said. “This is exciting, and gives me confidence going into everything else this year.”For complete coverage of Winter X Games 11 at Buttermilk, go to http://www.aspentimes.com/xJon Maletz’s e-mail address is jmaletz@aspentimes.com.