United States Wins First Gold Medal of Beijing Winter Olympics

The United States secured its first gold medal of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics Wednesday when Lindsey Jacobellis won the women’s snowboard cross competition.

The 36-year-old Jacobellis has been the dominant figure in the short history of the sport, but has come up short in her quest for Olympic gold since her debut at the 2006 Olympics in Turin, Italy. She was heading to a certain gold medal at the Turin Games when she slipped and fell attempting a flashy move during a jump on the final leg of the race, forcing her to settle for the silver medal. 

Chloe Trespeuch of France won the silver medal Wednesday, while Canada’s Meryeta Odine took home the bronze.

Jacobellis’s win came hours after U.S. skier Mikeala Shiffrin, the most dominant women’s Alpine skier of her generation, endured another shocking failure in her quest to add to her Olympic gold medal collection. Shiffrin was just seconds into her first run in the women’s slalom competition when she missed a gate and skied off the course, resulting in her disqualification, and sat despondent and dejected on the side of the course for several minutes.

Petra Vlhova of Slovakia took the gold medal in the women’s slalom, with Katharina Leinsberger of Austria taking the silver medal and Wendy Holdener of Switzerland winning bronze.

Also Wednesday, 21-year-old Birk Ruud of Norway won the gold medal in the men’s freestyle big air competition, with American Colby Stevenson taking home the silver medal, six years after suffering massive injuries in a near-fatal automobile crash, including a fractured skull.  Sweden’s Henrik Harlaut won the bronze medal.

American snowboarders Shuan White and Chloe Kim both qualified to advance to the finals of the men’s and women’s halfpipe competition, respectively. The 35-year-old White, a three-time gold medalist, is competing in his final Winter Olympics, while the 21-year-old Kim is seeking to defend the gold medal she won at the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang.

Five female ski jumpers have been disqualified from the Beijing Olympics after the International Ski Federation (FIS) ruled that their suits were too big.

Germany’s Katharina Althaus, Silje Opseth and Anna Odine Stroem of Norway, Japanese jumper Sara Takanashi and Austria’s Daniela Iraschko-Stolz were all disqualified from taking part in the inaugural mixed team event, which featured teams with two women and two men each.

Althaus denounced the FIS decision, saying they “destroyed women’s ski jumping.”

Slovenia won the gold medal in the event, with the Russian Olympic Committee team winning silver and Canada the surprise bronze medal winners.