A record-29th world cup win on Wednesday had Lindsey Jacobellis knocking on the door of her fourth Olympic Winter Games.
All she needed in order to qualify for the PyeongChang Games at Saturday’s snowboardcross world cup in Montafon, Austria, was simply for no other American to win — a likely scenario, considering only two other U.S. women have made a world cup podium in the last decade.
When all wrapped up in Austria, it became official: Jacobellis was headed to PyeongChang.
Jacobellis, who is from Stratton Mountain, Vermont, finished 10th: Faye Gulini made it interesting, winning silver in a photo finish for her best-ever world cup result, but missing the top step of the podium meant Jacobellis mathematically clinched her Olympic berth.
Jacobellis’ win on Wednesday was her second podium in the two U.S. Olympic qualifying events to that point, putting her on the brink of qualification.
The three-time Olympian has cleaned up on the world cup circuit over the years, with nine more career wins to her name than anyone else, not to mention her five world championships and 10 Winter X Games gold medals. Her five world titles in five attempts is the most for any snowboarder, male or female, regardless of the event.
She will be headed to PyeongChang looking to snap her streak of bad luck at the Olympics. Her silver medal in Torino in 2006 was achingly close to gold, with an ill-timed grab at the end of the course causing her to fall and Switzerland’s Tanja Frieden to snatch first place. Crashes in 2010 and 2014 resulted in fifth- and seventh-place finishes, respectively.
But even at 32, Jacobellis is strong a competitor as ever as the reigning snowboardcross world champion. She hasn’t indicated whether or not 2018 will be her last Olympic go-round, but if so, ending it on a golden note would be a fitting finish to a stellar career.
Todd Kortemeier is a sportswriter, editor and children’s book author from Minneapolis. He is a contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.