U.S. Olympian Lindsey Jacobellis, 32, has accumulated nine Winter X Games titles, 29 World Cup wins and 49 podiums in 94 World Cup starts.
But Jacobellis is perhaps best known for her heartbreak from the Turin Winter Olympics in 2006, when she was destined for gold before celebrating too early with a “method air” on the last jump.
The trick caused her to fall into second place as she crashed on the landing.
Essentially the only accolade Jacobellis hasn’t received in her sport an Olympic gold medal. The only prize she had received in her first three Winter Games was the silver from Turin.
This year in Pyeongchang, it appeared she was going to win gold Thursday as she led the pack through the snowboard cross finals for most of the race.
But as the riders came out of a banked turn and toward a jump, Italy’s Michela Moioli made her move, swinging around Jacobellis.
The American snowboarder eventually fell all the way back to fourth place.
Jacobellis was just 0.03 seconds away from reaching the podium with a bronze medal.
Heartbroken fans encouraged her on Twitter after the devastating loss.
Despite the disappointing finish, Jacobellis was positive in her postrace interviews.
“It was really close,” she said. “We were mixing things up, so it was pretty intense. There was a lot of drafting going on, so it’s really hard to hold a lead and someone can really capitalize on your speed and take over very easily. So that’s kind of how this course was. I was just really happy that I made it into the finals.”
She added, “I mean, I could be upset about it, but where is that going to get me? Anything can happen in boardercross, and I didn’t get injured today. The fact I’m still walking out of here is great.”
The 32-year-old is not yet ready to hang up the board, telling reporters she has no immediate plans to retire.
“There are plenty of other athletes who’ve never acquired that Olympic gold, but they still keep qualifying and still keep coming back,” said Jacobellis. “Because what are they truly? They’re Olympic contenders, Olympic athletes. They’re role models, and someone who want to give back to the sport.”
Instead of Jacobellis pulling off the comeback story, it was Italy’s Moioli who went on to win gold.
She could have won gold in Sochi in 2014 as well, but fell short when she tore her ACL in the final race.