Olympic roundup: Lindsey Jacobellis falters again

Canada’s Dominique Maltais slides past a fallen Lindsey Jacobellis, who lost her balance in the second-to-last turn in a snowboardcross semifinal run.
sergei grits/associated press
Canada’s Dominique Maltais slides past a fallen Lindsey Jacobellis, who lost her balance in the second-to-last turn in a snowboardcross semifinal run.

Same sting, different day for Lindsey Jacobellis.

The woman who has dominated her sport for a decade came to the Olympics for the third time Sunday, in search of the gold medal she gave away once and lost in one of those so-called ‘‘racin’ deals’’ the other time.

Far ahead of the other five riders in her semifinal heat on a sunny, slushy afternoon at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park in Krasnaya Polyana, Jacobellis misjudged the second-to-last turn on the course, flew over a jump too fast, lost her balance, and skidded onto her back.


She raised her hands for leverage as she skittered into the middle of the course, hoping the momentum might pull her back to her feet. But the snow was too soft and Jacobellis was stuck. She moved to the side and trudged down the hill, snowboard in hand.

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‘‘It’s how the wheel turns,’’ she said. ‘‘It just so happened not to work out. It’s hard to accept that.’’

Moments after her latest hard-luck Olympic loss, she overcame a slow start and dominated the field in what they call the Small Final — the race that decides seventh place.

Jacobellis now has second-, fifth-, and seventh-place finishes in her three Olympic trips. Yes, it keeps getting worse.

Her first Olympic loss, eight years ago in Italy, was a sheer matter of showboating. Out in the clear with two jumps left, she tried a showy grab of her board and tumbled, then got passed for the victory and held up for ridicule in some corners, derision in others.


Four years ago in Vancouver, she collided with Canadian Maelle Ricker, the eventual winner, on an early turn in the semifinal round. That put her off balance and she couldn’t regain control before she rode completely off course. She won the consolation heat — then a four-woman race — that day, as well.

This time, it was a cruel melding of human error and the randomness of snowboardcross that combined to ruin her day.

Jacobellis, 28, was well in the lead when she headed into the second-to-last turn and set herself up for a set of four gentle bumps — called ‘‘rollers’’ in snowboard parlance. The traffic behind her wasn’t bearing down, but Jacobellis wasn’t sure, so she pushed things as she headed to the corner.

The last roller shot her blindly into the final turn and she lost her balance.

Within seconds, the entire field passed her.


‘‘There’s a lot out there you can’t control, but unfortunately, what I could control today was what didn’t work,’’ she said. ‘‘That’s the unfortunate part.’’

Eva Samkova of the Czech Republic sprinted to gold with three wire-to-wire victories Sunday, the first podium finish in the Olympics by a Czech snowboarder. Canadian Dominique Maltais became the first multiple-medal winner in women’s snowboardcross when she finished a distant second. Chloe Trespeuch of France topped American Faye Gulini for bronze.


Women’s 1,500 meters — The Dutch are just racing themselves at the Olympic speedskating oval in Sochi.

Jorien ter Mors led another Netherlands sweep at Adler Arena, beating favorite Ireen Wust in the women’s 1,500 meters and setting up a shot at becoming the first skater to win medals in both long and short track.

Competing in an early pairing, ter Mors turned in a stunning time of 1 minute 53.51 seconds, an Olympic record and the second-fastest ever at sea level. The only skater to go quicker was Wust at the Dutch Olympic trials in December.

Wust settled for silver this time in 1:54.09, with the bronze going to Lotte van Beek in 1:54.54. If a fourth medal had been available, the Dutch would’ve snatched it, too. Marrit Leenstra finished fourth.

Ter Mors just missed a short track medal Saturday, finishing fourth in the 1,500 at the Iceberg Skating Palace next door. She has another chance in the 1,000, which begins Tuesday.

The Dutch have now won 16 speedskating medals at Adler Arena, breaking the previous record haul of 13 set by East Germany at the 1988 Calgary Olympics. And they figure to push the mark to heights that may never be seen again. It was the fifth win in eight events and the third sweep of the medal podium for the Dutch speedskaters, who have captured at least one medal in every race.

At the other end of the scale are the Americans, who had another dismal day at the big oval. Heather Richardson of High Point, N.C., finished seventh, Brittany Bowe of Ocala, Fla., struggled to a 14th-place finish, and Jilleanne Rookard of Woodhaven, Mich., was 18th.

Despite switching suits in a desperate bid to change their fortunes, the Americans are facing the very real possibility of their first medal shutout in speedskating since the 1984 Sarajevo Olympics.

Cross-country skiing

Men’s 4x10-kilometer relay — Marcus Hellner was so far ahead of his rivals heading in to the cross-country stadium that he had time to pick up a Swedish flag and wave it to the crowd as he cruised toward the finish line.

The anchor of Sweden’s relay team crossed the line for a time of 1:28.42.0. Russia was 27.3 seconds behind to take silver in front of President Vladimir Putin. France finished third, another 4.6 seconds back.


Men’s two-man — Russia’s Alexander Zubkov set a track record on his first run, and then opened some distance on the rest of a decorated field with a second crisp, clean trip down his home track to open a commanding lead at the halfway point over Switzerland’s Beat Hefti and Steven Holcomb of the United States.

Zubkov is two runs away from winning Russia’s first gold medal in two-man since 1988. Zubkov completed his two descents on the fog-cloaked Sanki Sliding Center track in 1 minute, 52.82 seconds. He leads Hefti by 0.32 seconds and Holcomb by 0.36 seconds.


Men’s round-robin — The Canadians joined Sweden in qualifying for the semifinals with tense wins over the United States (8-6) and China (9-8). Canada will be the No. 2 seed in the semifinals behind Sweden, which beat Russia, 8-4, and then the Americans, 6-4.

Women’s round-robin — Maria Prytz bumped a stone into the button for 2 points at the final end, giving Sweden a 5-4 win over Russia that guaranteed the team a spot in the playoffs and a shot at the country’s third straight gold medal. Canada clinched the top seed in the playoffs by beating the United States, 7-6, in an extra end for its eighth straight win.