The United States has claimed its first gold medal at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, thanks to snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis and her women’s snowboard cross skills.
Many viewers saw Jacobellis appear as a competitor on MTV’s The Challenge: Champs vs. Pros, where she was among the group of finalists for the spinoff season.
Now she’s added a gold medal for the U.S. medal count at the Beijing Winter Olympics, following her 16 years of trying to claim that prize in the event.
Lindsey Jacobellis claims gold at 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing
According to ESPN, Lindsey Jacobellis, 36, won her first gold medal at the Olympics and the first gold for the United States at Beijing’s 2022 Winter Olympics. She also made history as the oldest American woman to win gold in any Winter Olympics competition.
She claimed the gold in the women’s snowboard cross final, leading the event from start to finish. According to the Olympics website, France’s Chloe Trespeuch claimed silver, while Canada’s Meryeta Odine won the bronze medal.
Following the race, Jacobellis spoke about how the competition has increased over the years and what it was like to finally win.
“This feels incredible because this level that all the women are riding at is a lot higher than it was 16 years ago,” Jacobellis said, adding, “So I felt like a winner just that I made it into finals because that’s been a challenge every time. All these ladies had the potential to win, and today it just worked out for me that my starts were good, my gliding was great and everything worked for me today.”
Jacobellis has competed in the Winter Olympics since 2006. She won silver during the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino due to her late showboating in the race as she was leading. That attempted victory celebration caused her to fall and cost her the gold.
At the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, she finished fifth, followed by a seventh-place finish at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
In 2018, Jacobellis reached the final for snowboard cross at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. However, she finished in fourth place by just .003 seconds.
Per ESPN, Jacobellis said she wasn’t thinking about her previous finishes at the Olympics while competing in Beijing.
“That was not in my mind,” she said. “I wanted to just come here and compete. [Winning] would have been a nice, sweet thing, but I think if I had tried to spend time on the thought of redemption, then it’s taking away focus on the task at hand, and that’s not why I race.”
Jacobellis was finalist for The Challenge spinoff series
Fans of The Challenge saw Lindsey Jacobellis on a spinoff series that MTV aired called The Challenge: Champs vs. Pros in 2017.
Hosted by former NFL star Victor Cruz, it featured Challenge stars competing against professional athletes. They included professional wrestler CM Punk, surfer Tia Blanco, and track and field star Louise Hazel.
Also appearing in that spinoff season was Olympic athlete Lolo Jones, who appeared in one regular season of MTV’s The Challenge, Double Agents. Fans will recall Jones exited the season to focus on training for the Winter Olympics. According to Sports Illustrated, she was left off the final bobsledding team.
Unlike the regular season of The Challenge, everyone was competing on behalf of charities. Lindsey competed for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
She’d become a finalist that season for her team and finished as a runner-up to football player Kamerion Wimbley. Lindsey raised $5,000 for her charity during the spinoff season. The season winners were Challenge stars, Cara Maria Sorbello and Darrell Taylor.
While Jacobellis has won eight X Games titles and five world championship golds over her years in snowboard cross, she’d yet to win the gold medal at the Olympics. Now she can add that to her impressive list of accomplishments.
The Challenge is currently on hiatus on MTV and is expected to return in 2022.