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Olympics-Snowboarding-U.S. golden oldies snatch victory in cross mixed team event

Randy Mancini 3 Feb 12
Snowboard - Mixed Team Snowboard Cross Big Final
2022 Beijing Olympics - Snowboard - Mixed Team Snowboard Cross Big Final - Genting Snow Park, Zhangjiakou, China - February 12, 2022. Lorenzo Sommariva of Italy (L), Eliot Grondin of Canada (2nd L), Nick Baumgartner of the United States (C) and Omar Visintin of Italy in action. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

February 12, 2022

By Mari Saito and Winni Zhou

ZHANGJIAKOU, China (Reuters) -Lindsey Jacobellis won her second gold of the Beijing Games after she and team-mate Nick Baumgartner, with a combined age of 76, won the inaugural snowboard cross mixed team gold for the United States on Saturday.

Jacobellis, 36, and Baumgartner, 40, were the oldest team to compete at Saturday’s mixed team event, but defeated their younger rivals in a nail-biting final.

Jacobellis, who won the United States its first gold at the Beijing Olympics earlier this week for the women’s snowboard cross, came out swinging in the final run, but was quickly overtaken by Pyeongchang gold medallist Michela Moioli of Italy.

Moioli and Jacobellis were neck-and-neck while the other two racers, for Canada and Italy, fell behind and later crashed on top of each other.

Jacobellis kept hot on Moioli’s heels and the American edged out the Italian at the last moment, winning by 0.2 seconds.

Canada eventually caught up to win bronze.

“Don’t count the old people out ever!” an elated Baumgartner told reporters after the final, adding that their years of training and competitions helped them win gold.

“For any athlete, getting pushed out by the younger generation is a feeling that really sucks, so for us to go out there and put our stamp of approval on it, (to show) that we’re not done yet, we just gotta work a little harder and we’re willing to put that work in, so it’s a good feeling.”

Jacobellis’ medal earlier this week was a victory that went some way to making up for a career-defining fall at the 2006 Turin Games.

“We’ve definitely been through a lot and we’ve seen each other’s ups and downs and struggles, so to be able to come together and work as a team and learn from each other … I thought we did great today,” she said.

Canadian Eliot Grondin, who was part of the team who took bronze, said it was impressive to see the American pair dominate the race.

“I’ve watched these people race since I was born,” he said. “Nick is 20 years older than me. Just to be able to share a big final with those guys … It’s insane.”

The mixed team event made its Olympics debut at the Beijing Games, but most boarders were already familiar with the course at the Genting Snow Park in Zhangjiakou as they had already raced individual competitions there earlier in the week.

Heavy snow began to fall in Zhangjiakou ahead of Saturday’s final, covering the course with a layer of powdery snow. Air temperatures fell to -11 degree Celsius (12.2°F) and visibility was lower than normal.

Australian Belle Brockhoff was earlier taken off the course by a stretcher after she clipped another boarder and fell during a frenetic quarter-final race.

(Reporting by Mari Saito and Winni Zhou; Editing by Peter Rutherford and Christian Schmollinger)