Lindsey Jacobellis hot-dogged her way out of a gold medal four years ago in Torino.
With the world expecting her to exact a measure of revenge—a word Jacobellis has openly used to highlight her plight—things went, if you can believe it, from bad to worse.
Disqualified in the semifinals of the women's snowboard cross, Jaco left Vancouver empty handed. There was not even a consolation silver medal this time. There was nothing except disappointment and, I'm sure in the days that will follow, regret.
Jacobellis, a two-time World Champion and X Games gold medalist, has been the very best in the snowboard cross world for the last decade but, once again, she failed to claim the sport's very top prize.
The 24-year-old from Stratton Mountain, Vt., placed fifth in the women’s snowboard cross on Cypress Mountain Tuesday afternoon, winning the losers' race to determine the fifth-through-eighth spots, after being disqualified from the semis.
Coming over a jump just seconds into the semifinal after a good start, the snowboarder with the flowing blonde hair wobbled, stumbled, and regained her balance. But it was too late. She over-corrected and clipped the edge of the inside half of the gate on a left-hand bank. Just like that, after being flawless in qualifying, she was eliminated from the race.
With Jacobellis out of the running, Canadian Maelle Ricker took the first qualifying spot and went on to claim the host nation's second gold of the games in the medal final. The silver medal went to Deborah Anthonioz of France, while Olivia Nobs of Switzerland won the bronze.
Less than 24 hours removed from Bode Miller's electrifying bronze medal in the men's downhill, nobody imagined it would be Miller who found true redemption in the Canadian mountains.
While Jacobellis entered the competition as the favorite, Miller had a different kind of weight on his shoulder.
After scooping a pair of medals in Salt Lake City in 2002, the party-hard Miller crashed and burned in Torino. He came into Vancouver with a point to prove, even if nobody really thought of him as a legitimate medal threat.
The publicity and attention surrounding Miller was not as intense as it was four years ago, and the seemingly maturer downhill racer seized his spot when the moment came, missing out on a gold medal by less than one-tenth of a second in the closest finish in the race's history.
By contrast, Jacobellis has had the world's media on her tail for the last few years, each wanting to know what went wrong in Italy, each wanting to know what she will do in Canada to make it right.
When her moment came, she was found lacking. In an almost symbolic moment of defiance, Jacobellis grabbed her board with two hands, sticking the landing perfectly—something she failed to do four years ago with one hand.
But by then, it was all for naught. She had already been disqualified, throwing her hands in the air, frustrated with what, once again, may have been.
Jacobellis entered with visions of gold. But she's leaving with her potential unfulfilled and four more years to think about just what went wrong. She's leaving, as in Torino, with nobody to blame but herself.