Make it five world titles for Lindsey Jacobellis, who extended her dominance in snowboard cross outside of the Olympics on Sunday.
Jacobellis, 31, led nearly from start to finish of both her semifinal and final in Sierra Nevada, Spain, edging Olympic bronze medalist Chloe Trespeuch of France for gold. Italy’s Michela Moioli, the 2016 World Cup season champion, took bronze.
Jacobellis and Trespeuch exchanged words in the finish area after spending most of the final within a board of each other.
“I’m defending myself,” Jacobellis told Trespeuch. “You’re running into me. Sorry Chloe, but you’re trying to push me off, and I’m holding myself. You’re going to come into me like that.”
Jacobellis’ biggest rival, Czech Olympic champion Eva Samkova, went off course in her semifinal after posting the fastest time in qualifying last week.
Jacobellis has competed at worlds five times and won gold each time. No other snowboarder or freestyle skier has won a world title in a single event more than three times.
“Every year, it gets harder and harder because the level with women keeps increasing,” Jacobellis said. “I want to be remembered as someone who is supporting that next, younger generation as well as continuing to raise the bar.”
Jacobellis is one of the greatest Olympic sports athletes of all time, yet she has not won an Olympic gold medal. In 21 career appearances in major championships snowboard cross competitions (Olympics, X Games, Worlds), she has 15 gold medals.
Jacobellis infamously lost gold on a celebratory board grab on the penultimate jump at the 2006 Torino Olympics, settling for silver. She then washed out in the semifinals in both 2010 and 2014.
The PyeongChang Olympics will bring another round of expectations, and one more opportunity to claim that elusive gold. It may be her last chance, but Jacobellis refused to put a timeline on the rest of her career.
“Still just taking one week at a time, one month at a time, just living the dream,” she said. “I don’t like to look too far in the future because you’re missing what’s going on right now. I’ve made that mistake before in the past, where you’re too worried about what’s coming, and you’re not seeing what’s right in front of you.”
In the men’s event Sunday, France’s Pierre Vaultier took gold to follow up his Olympic title. The top American was Nick Baumgartner in fourth.
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NBC Olympics researcher Rachel Thompson contributed to this report from Sierra Nevada.
20th — 2001 X Games
21st — 2002 X Games
Gold — 2003 X Games
Gold — 2004 X Games
Gold — 2005 Worlds
Gold — 2005 X Games
*** Skipped 2006 X Games
Silver — 2006 Olympics
Silver — 2007 X Games
Gold — 2007 Worlds
Gold — 2008 X Games
Gold — 2009 X Games
*** Skipped 2009 Worlds
Gold — 2010 X Games
Fifth — 2010 Olympics
Gold — 2011 Worlds
Gold — 2011 X Games
*** Tore ACL/meniscus in 2012 X Games training run
Gold — 2014 X Games
Seventh — 2014 Olympics
Gold — 2015 Worlds
Gold — 2015 X Games
Gold — 2016 X Games
Gold — 2017 Worlds