Vets Jacobellis, Gulini, Baumgartner Join Olympic Rookies On Snowboardcross, Parallel Giant Slalom Teams

By Karen Price | Jan. 24, 2018, 1:07 a.m. (ET)

 

A giant in her sport, Lindsey Jacobellis has done just about everything she can in women’s snowboardcross.

The one thing missing? An Olympic gold medal.

She’ll get a fourth crack at that next month in PyeongChang.

The five-time and defending world champion was one of 10 snowboardcross and parallel giant slalom athletes named to the 2018 U.S. Olympic Team that will compete at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018. U.S. Ski & Snowboard announced the team on Tuesday.

Jacobellis becomes the only American to represent Team USA at every Olympics since the debut of snowboardcross in 2006.

Both Jacobellis, 32, and teammate Faye Gulini, 25, a veteran of two Winter Games, had already qualified for the team by virtue of their performances in qualifying events. Joining them on the U.S. women’s snowboardcross team will be Olympic rookies Meghan Tierney and Rosie Mancari.

Although Jacobellis won an Olympic silver medal in 2006, she has experienced her share of bad luck in the Winter Games, coming in to all three as a favorite but crashing each time. Her 2006 medal in the sport’s Olympic debut remains the only medal for a U.S. woman in snowboardcross, although Gulini finished just off the podium in fourth in Sochi.

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Tierney, a 21-year-old New Jersey native, first competed on the world cup circuit in 2015 and last weekend in Turkey had her best finish ever, coming in seventh. Mancari, 24, from Anchorage, Alaska, also competed in her first world cup race in 2015 and this season has three top-15 finishes. 

The first man to secure a spot on the snowboardcross team was Jonathan Cheever, who was the only American man to podium in seven qualifying events and will be making his Olympic debut at the age of 32. Cheever’s accomplishment came at the start of the season in Argentina, where he had a third-place finish and his first world cup podium since February 2012. The Boston native missed out on qualifying for the team the past two Olympics and has been splitting his time between snowboarding and plumbing to finance his goals.

He’s now joined by two-time Olympian Nick Baumgartner, 36, who just missed the podium in the final qualifier of the season last weekend in Turkey, finishing fourth, and two Olympic rookies. Mick Dierdorff, 26, had a third-place finish this season in the one world cup race that was not an Olympic qualifier. Hagen Kearney, 26, had a fourth- and fifth-place finish this season and won a world cup last season.

All four U.S. men are ranked among the top-15 in the world cup standings, with Dierdorff leading the way at No. 5.

The U.S. men will be aiming to continue a medal streak in the sport, after American Seth Wescott won the first two Olympic gold medals in 2006 and 2010, and then Alex Deibold won a bronze medal in 2014.

Competing in parallel giant slalom are AJ Muss and Michael Trapp. Muss, 23, is ranked 15th in the world in alpine snowboarding and has had three top-8 world cup finishes this season, including his second sixth-place finish last weekend. The 29-year-old Trapp, the 2011 and 2012 national champion, had his best finish ever at his fourth trip to the world championships last season, coming in 16th.  

Parallel giant slalom has been an Olympic event since 2002. Chris Klug won a bronze medal that year, and Rosey Fletcher added another bronze in 2006, for the only U.S. medals in the sport.

Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.