Lindsey Jacobellis’ Big Olympics Mistake

No, I don’t want poor silly Lindsey Jacobellis to go to jail for losing a race she had already won. I mean, let’s get real, guys. This isn’t Grand Theft Auto, it’s an overdue library book. But I don’t expect Alex Trebek to invite Little Miss Einstein to Jeopardy anytime soon either. And if Lindsey thinks her tuchus hurts now after her humiliating pratfall at the Olympics, wait until the nasty butt-kicking that’s waiting just around the corner.

Here’s a quick plot synopsis for those of you who missed that hilarious episode of Not Everybody Loves Lindsey: our fearless heroine was cruising to an easy victory, just100 yards away from winning a gold medal in the first Olympic women’s snowboardcross competition.

But then, speeding to the next-to-last jump, Lindsey added a trick called the “Backside Method Air” on her way to the finish line. Why? It wasn’t as though the judges were rating her on “degree of difficulty”. A clearly perplexed Dominique Maltais, the World Cup leader, said, “You’re not supposed to grab your board. It’s not a halfpipe race, it’s just boardrcross.”

Here’s why: “I was ahead of the pack and definitely got caught up in the moment,” Lindsey explained. “I was having so much fun and was so excited that I didn’t even think twice that I shouldn’t do that. I wanted to share my enthusiasm with the crowd.” In other words, it wasn’t good enough to win, she had to win looking good.

Yeah, she denied it, but c’mon, Lindsey – you were hotdogging it.

It was like watching a rookie wide receiver in the end zone practicing his exuberant “Hey, look at me!” touchdown dance before catching the ball. If the jerk is real lucky, he’ll catch the ball.

But sometimes he doesn’t.

Neither did Lindsey.



Coughing up snow and watching a jubilant Tanja Frieden win the race, Lindsey tried awkwardly to be philosophical about her do-it-yourself fiasco: “I messed up. Oh well, it happened. I still have a silver.” Sure, Lindsey. Why don’t you go to Michelle Kwan – who will never attend the Olympics again, by the way – and ask her how good it feels to be in second place? To a professional athlete, taking second place is like being a game show contestant getting the microwave oven instead of the Porsche.

Or, more to the point, go to Chris Webber and ask how he feels that people are still talking years later about the phantom “time out” he tried to call. Or how about Bill Buckner helplessly watching the ball dribble between his legs? And then there is Scott Norwood, Mr. Wide Right himself. Get it? Poor Lindsey Jacobellis is starting to. In jockstrap culture, there’s an awful purgatory where you never want to be. Nobody wants to be sitting in the corner wearing a dunce cap or riding in the school bus with the “special” kids. Nobody wants to be the punchline of a Chris Berman joke on Sportcenter.

But that’s where Lindsey Jacobellis is right now…and that’s too bad. She’s not a criminal, just a talented, free-spirited kid who made a dumb mistake. Unfortunately, as mistakes go, this one is a bad tattoo that won’t rub off the next day. Lindsey is going to learn the hard way, as Chris Webber did, that until you win a championship, people aren’t going to shut up. (Leon Lett got lucky because he was on a Super Bowl team.) Every press conference is going to feel like Groundhog Day. Unless you have a Stanley Cup, a World Series ring, an Olympic gold medal or some other magic talisman in your possession, the laughter will never go away.

No, it’s not funny…is it?

Lindsey sure ain’t smiling.

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