When Lindsey Jacobellis took home Team USA’s first gold medal at the 2022 Winter Olympics, she became the oldest American woman to place at any Winter Games.
But don’t tell that to the five-time Olympian.
“I prefer the term ‘seasoned,’ but it’s been a pretty incredible day and I was just really happy that everything worked for me,” the snowboard cross athlete told NBC’s locally owned stations hours after her performance.
Even then, Jacobellis said she hadn’t had time to take in what winning her first Olympic gold medal meant — a moment she’d been striving toward for 16 years.
“Part of me felt it when I came across the finish line. It was breathtaking — not only because the course was fatiguing — but that it finally came to fruition,” she said.
Jacobellis has been to the Winter Olympics five times, and twice she earned Olympic silvers, but had never reached the elusive gold. Her best chance seemed to come in her Olympic debut in Torino 16 years ago, but a fall on a trick attempt in what was an otherwise gold-winning run at her put her in second.
“I didn’t really want to put too much expectation on it just in case it didn’t happen again.” She told herself, “‘I should just look at that I’ve participated in the Olympics five times and have that be my positive focus and try to enjoy the whole journey.'”
But it did happen. Jacobellis came out of the course with an early lead and gained on competitors throughout the course. On the final hill it was clear — Jacobellis is a gold medal winner.