Jacobellis: “I was just 19 and excited!”
A look back one decade in the making!
Oh we fail and flail and fall flat on our faces all the damned time. It is part of being human! Most of us are either lucky enough, or unlucky enough depending on the ego’s hunger, to eat shit out of the public eye allowing us to get up and dust off without a second thought.
But that is not the case for fabulous snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis. Everyone recalls her stumble one full decade ago in Tornio at the 2006 Olympic games. There she was miles and miles ahead of the pack. There was that final jump. There was that method, that crash, that stomach churning silver.
Or the final bummer here!
And how the media was quick to pounce, calling the girl a show-off, a disgrace! I felt very different. Throwing away gold for style is the extreme sport way. She was our hero! Our icon!
But how did she feel? In a new and wide ranging interview with New York Magazine she addresses many things but also this one moment in detail and introspection rarely seen. Shall we read?
At the time, that moment was shattering. I could not express that because I was put in front of an audience immediately. Interviews on TV and in the papers, in front of panels of all different kinds of people. And I was always taught to be a gracious loser, but that was very, very challenging to me as an individual. But looking back and seeing where I am now, that silver medal has shaped me into the individual that I am today, because I know if I had won the gold back then I would’ve been done, out of the sport. I did not love the sport as much as I do now, because when you’re 19 years old, do you really know what you want to do in life? Do you really know what you love? It was something I was good at, but you have those questions in your mind. Every time I’d be winning, I’d be referencing that. I would win and win and win and win, and I’d look back, and people would say, “Oh my gosh! Congratulations on your win. How does that feel with Torino?” And no one would ever drop it.
As a young person, to always feel like, “I just won and you’re bringing this up again,” it never was allowing me to heal. And so, it was just over these last couple years, and when I was injured, that I really had time to reflect on the emotional toll that moment had taken on me. And what was the scenario, exactly? Was it an emotional reaction in that present moment that made me want to grab the board? Or was it just something I wanted to do? Who really knows. Some people in the country thought I was being disrespectful or obnoxious, or lifting my nose to the whole Olympic experience. But in actuality, I was just 19 years old and excited. There’s so much pressure for kids to be performing at that level and at that age. Maybe that was just me wanting to be a little rebellious in that moment and, for once, not having to do exactly as I was told or expected. That could’ve been the emotional underline in that scenario.
Glorious. And inside, ain’t we all just 19 years old and excited? On our best days, yes. And may we stay forever young.