Jacobellis Settles for Silver in Snowboard Cross

Lindsay Jacobellis falls during an apparent showoff move at the end of the race. It appeared that Jacobellis had a lock on the gold medal until she grabbed her board in a celebratory move and tumbled, falling behind Switzerland's Tanja Frieden.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel

MICHELE NORRIS, Host:

And I'm Michele Norris. The United States Women's Hockey Team is out of gold medal contention today after losing a semi-final game to underdog Sweden. Sweden will play Canada for the Olympic title on Monday. The U.S. can still win bronze. In another disappointment for the U.S., snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis won a silver medal today in the new Olympic event of snowboard cross or SBX. Normally that would be cause for celebration, but this race had everybody on the American Team wincing in disbelief.

Jacobellis had the gold medal in the bag until a mind-boggling mistake at the very end of the course. NPR's Chris Arnold reports.

CHRIS ARNOLD: At the top of the snowboard cross course today, Lindsey Jacobellis and the three other final competitors settled into their starting gates. In snowboard cross, the racers go head-to-head four at a time, jostling for position and sometimes crashing into each other.

So they all want to launch themselves out of their starting gates to try to get ahead of the pack where there's less chance of getting tangled in a pile-up.

Jacobellis is one of the best snowboarders in the world, and she raced tremendously well today, starting off with a very tough race in the first elimination round. Another snowboarder rode onto her snowboard. Most riders would've fallen but Jacobellis fended her off as she did other racers who were knocking into her and her board all day.

In one of her runs, she took a dramatic jump that sent her flying through the air and into the lead. And that's where she was in the final race, too, way in the lead. Journalists with one wire service even started reported that she'd won the gold. But they got a bit ahead of themselves there. Snowboarding definitely has an attitude in style factor, why else would racers wear baggy pants when they want to go fast? And on one of the last jumps, it appeared that Jacobellis just couldn't resist a little show off move where she grabbed her board and twisted it. And that cost her the race. She fell and Tanja Frieden of Switzerland sped past her for the gold.

We asked Jacobellis what she was thinking when she hit that jump.

(SOUNDBITE OF SNOWBOARDS AND PEOPLE YELLING)

LINDSEY JACOBELLIS: Well I just went off the jump, you know, 'cause I was having fun, and snowboarding is fun. And, you know, I was feeling great that I was ahead and, you know, I wanted to share with the crowd my enthusiasm. So, but, you know, I messed up and, oh well. It happens.

ARNOLD: Jacobellis tried to defend herself a bit after the race saying that she always grabs her board to help balance her in jumps and to get her board back on the ground quickly. But she admitted that the little stylish grab twist move she did was not the best strategic choice.

After Frieden of Switzerland blew past her and Jacobellis came across the finish line, a sheepish second, the U.S. coach fell over in disbelief and laid down in the snow. Chris Arnold, NPR News Turin.

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