Longtime US teammates win mixed snowboardcross at Olympics

Feb 11, 2022, 8:27 AM | Updated: 11:31 pm
United States' Nick Baumgartner reacts after States' Lindsey Jacobellis, on the ground, crosses the...

United States' Nick Baumgartner reacts after States' Lindsey Jacobellis, on the ground, crosses the finish line to win a gold medal in the mixed team snowboard cross finals at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Saturday, Feb. 12, 2022, in Zhangjiakou, China. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

(AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

ZHANGJIAKOU, China (AP) — The running joke was American snowboardcross racer Nick Baumgartner always referring to them as a pair of 40-somethings.

“I’m 36,” Lindsey Jacobellis playfully corrected time after time in interview after interview.

For these two, and all their vast experience, age proved to be one thing — golden.

Jacobellis won her second title of the Beijing Olympics, teaming with Baumgartner to capture the new event of mixed team snowboardcross on Saturday.

At 40 years, 57 days, Baumgartner, the concrete worker/contractor from Michigan, becomes the oldest snowboarder to win an Olympic medal. At 36 years, 177 days, Jacobellis, the author of a new children’s book, is the second-oldest.

“You’re never too late to take what you want from life,” Baumgartner said. “You let yourself down if you quit too early, doesn’t matter how old you are. Our success at our age is a perfect example of that.”

Jacobellis took gold earlier this week in the women’s event; it came 16 years after a late showboat move as she was cruising in for an apparent win cost her the title at the Turin Games.

“It’s the internal fire in believing in yourself, whether you’re trying to go get a gold medal or just improving your day-to-day life,” said Jacobellis, whose new book titled “Sochi: A True Story” is currently sold out. “You continue to try to grow and better yourself.”

After a slow start at the Beijing Olympics, the U.S. now had five gold medals and 11 overall by Saturday afternoon. Jacobellis accounted for two, while snowboarder Chloe Kim has another. The Americans have also won two new Olympic events contested at the Genting Snow Park — mixed team aerials and now mixed team snowboardercross.

Although the unique snowboarding discipline made its Olympic debut in China, the event has been featured for nearly a decade at numerous World Cup stops.

It’s a competition that features a male and female rider from the same country being paired up and placed into a multi-team bracket. When the male racer crosses the line, the time advantage he holds over the next competitor is applied to his female teammate. The female rider then begins the run and the top two teams advance round by round until the final.

Baumgartner gave Jacobellis a slender lead after his run in the final. Jacobellis, of course, closed it out. They held off the Italian team of Omar Visintin and Michela Moioli by O.2 seconds. The Canadian duo of Eliot Grondin and Meryeta O’Dine finished third after O’Dine was able to scramble back up and get to the line first following an early-in the race wipeout with another Italian team. The bronze-medal winning team finished 23.20 seconds behind the time of Jacobellis and Baumgartner.

“I didn’t know if she was OK, or anything,” said the 20-year-old Grondin, the silver medalist in the men’s event. “So I was just waiting and hoping she was fine and that she kept going. Then I saw her name on the split times and I said, ‘Come on.’

“Then she jumped to the finish line and I was like, ‘Ahh, we did it.’ It’s crazy.”

Shortly after Jacobellis’ finish, Baumgartner went over for a gold-medal worthy embrace. Later, the American tandem grabbed hands and stepped on the podium when their names were announced.

“I always tell people that I learned a lot about myself and about my riding, once I did a team event,” Baumgartner said. “Because the vibe up at the top … when it’s a team race, we’re all smiling and we’re having fun and we’re enjoying each other’s company. We’re feeding off of each other. It brings the level of riding to a different level. You saw that today. It’s because we’re just a little less stressed and we’re having fun.”

Still, there was pressure. After all, Jacobellis didn’t want to let her longtime teammate down.

“We’ve definitely been through a lot and we’ve seen each other’s ups and downs and our struggles,” Jacobellis said. “So to be able to come together and work as a team, and learn from each other on how the courses were changing with speed, I thought we did great.”

The real motivation for them was simple: Showing those younger riders that age doesn’t matter. Their combined age was 76, while the Italian team was 58 and the Canadians only 44.

“I think for for any athlete, getting pushed out by the younger generation is a feeling that really sucks,” said Baumgartner, whose set to give the commencement speech when his son graduates high school in May. “So for us to go out there and put a stamp of approval on it, that we’re not done yet, we’ve just got to work a little bit harder and we’re willing to put that work in, it’s a good feeling.”


More AP Winter Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/winter-olympics and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Belgium's Kevin De Bruyne, right, and Belgium's Axel Witsel during the Nations League soccer match ...
Associated Press

Brazil will be top-ranked team at World Cup in Qatar

ZURICH (AP) — Brazil will go to this year’s World Cup as the top-rated team after extending its lead over second-place Belgium in the latest FIFA rankings released Thursday. Brazil won its two warmup games in September — against Ghana and Tunisia — while Belgium lost to the Netherlands in one of its two Nations […]
1 day ago
Arizona Coyotes forward Barrett Hayton, left, collides with Anaheim Ducks defenseman John Klingberg...
Associated Press

Drop the puck: What to know about the 2022-23 NHL season

The NHL is back to normal with the regular season stretching from October through the middle of April before the two-month thrill ride that is the chase for the Stanley Cup. Over that time, teams are scheduled to play a total of 1,312 games over 189 days, starting with Nashville and San Jose facing off […]
1 day ago
Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) and Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) battle for t...
Associated Press

LeBron in Vegas? He makes an expansion pitch to Adam Silver

LAS VEGAS (AP) — LeBron James came to Las Vegas for a preseason game. And a pitch. James, who has spoken in the past about wanting to eventually own an NBA franchise — with Las Vegas on his mind — sent a crystal-clear message to Commissioner Adam Silver on Wednesday night, reminding him of his […]
1 day ago
FILE - Dallas Stars' Jason Robertson skates during the third period of an NHL hockey game against t...
Associated Press

Stars sign 41-goal scorer Robertson to $31M, 4-year deal

FRISCO, Texas (AP) — Jason Robertson has signed a $31 million, four-year contract with the Dallas Stars after the young 40-goal scorer missed the first two weeks of training camp. The Stars announced the deal late Wednesday night, after their exhibition game in Denver, only a week before the regular season opener Oct. 13 at […]
1 day ago
The ski slopes are almost devoid of snow at the Tūroa ski field, on Mt. Ruapehu, New Zealand on Se...
Associated Press

Missing snow puts famed New Zealand ski areas on precipice

TUROA SKI AREA, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand’s Turoa ski area is usually a white wonderland at this time of year, its deep snowpack supporting its famed spring skiing. This season, it’s largely a barren moonscape, with tiny patches of snow poking out between vast fields of jagged volcanic boulders. The ski area was […]
1 day ago
FILE - Kansas City Royals pitching coach Cal Eldred in the seventh inning of a baseball game, May 1...
Associated Press

Royals fire manager Mike Matheny after 65-97 end to season

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Manager Mike Matheny and pitching coach Cal Eldred were fired by the Kansas Cty Royals on Wednesday night, shortly after the struggling franchise finished the season 65-97 with a listless 9-2 loss to the Cleveland Guardians. The Royals had exercised their option on Matheny’s contract for 2023 during spring training, […]
1 day ago
Longtime US teammates win mixed snowboardcross at Olympics