Lindsey Jacobellis

Lindsey Jacobellis wins ninth Winter X Games title

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Lindsey Jacobellis extended her record for most X Games gold medals by a woman — Summer or Winter — with her ninth snowboard cross title on Friday.

Jacobellis prevailed in a final that included Olympic champion Eva Samkova of the Czech Republic, who crashed early in the race. Canada’s two-time Olympic medalist Dominique Maltais took second, followed by France’s Nelly Moenne-Loccoz.

Canada’s Kevin Hill won the men’s X Games title. Italy’s Omar Visintin took silver. Seven-time X Games champion and three-time Olympian Nate Holland won bronze.

Two-time Olympic champion Seth Wescott failed to advance out of qualifying.

Jacobellis is riding a new snowboard this year, debuting it when she won the World Championship for the fourth time last weekend, according to ESPN.

“Did not win the start,” Jacobellis said of the race (video here) Friday to ESPN. “Just had to go with what I had in front of me and try to stay out of traffic.”

Jacobellis is one of the greatest Olympic sports athletes of all time, yet she has not won an Olympic gold medal. In 19 career appearances in major championships snowboard cross competitions (Olympics, X Games, Worlds), she has won 13 gold medals.

Here’s a conversation with Jacobellis from before this season, where she reflected on missing an Olympic medal in Sochi and looked to her future in the sport.

Here’s her record:

20th — 2001 X Games
21st — 2002 X Games
Gold — 2003 X Games (and third in slopestyle and fourth in halfpipe)
Gold — 2004 X Games
Gold — 2005 Worlds
Gold — 2005 X Games
*** Skipped 2006 X Games
Silver — 2006 Olympics
Gold — 2007 Worlds
Silver — 2007 X Games
Gold — 2008 X Games
Gold — 2009 X Games
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

Shaun White beaten in Winter X Games halfpipe

Sam Girard, Olympic short track champion, surprisingly retires at age 22

Sam Girard
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Sam Girard, who avoided a three-skater pileup to win the PyeongChang Olympic 1000m, retired from short track speed skating at age 22, saying he lost the desire to compete.

“I leave my sport satisfied with what I have accomplished,” Girard said in a press release. “This decision was very well thought through. I am at peace with the choice that I’ve made and am ready to move onto the next step.”

Girard and girlfriend and fellow Olympic skater Kasandra Bradette announced their careers end together in a tearful French-language press conference in Quebec on Friday.

Girard detailed the decision in a letter, the sacrifices made to pursue skating. Notably, moving from his hometown of Ferland-et-Boilleau, population 600, to Montreal in 2012. His hobbies had been of the outdoor variety, but he now had to drive an hour and a half from the training center just to go fishing.

In PyeongChang, Girard led for most of the 1000m final, which meant he avoided chaos behind him on the penultimate lap of the nine-lap race. Hungarian Liu Shaolin Sandor‘s inside pass took out South Koreans Lim Hyo-Jun and Seo Yi-Ra, leaving just Girard and American John-Henry Krueger.

Girard maintained his lead, crossing .214 in front of Krueger to claim the title. He also finished fourth in the 500m and 1500m and earned bronze in the relay.

“My first Olympics, won a gold medal, can’t ask for more,” he said afterward.

Though Girard was already accomplished — earning individual silver medals at the 2016 and 2017 Worlds — he came to PyeongChang as the heir apparent to Charles Hamelin, a roommate on the World Cup circuit whom Girard likened to a big brother. Girard earned another world silver medal this past season.

Hamelin, after taking individual gold in 2010 and 2014, left PyeongChang without an individual medal in what many expected to be his last Olympics. However, he went back on a retirement vow and continued to skate through the 2018-19 season.

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MORE: J.R. Celski explains decision to retire

Maia, Alex Shibutani extend break from ice dance competition

AP
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Brother-sister ice dance duo Maia and Alex Shibutani will not compete next season, the Olympic bronze medalists announced via U.S. Figure Skating on Friday.

“We’re healthier and stronger than we were after the Olympics, and we’re continuing to push ourselves,” Maia Shibutani said in a press release.

“We’ve continued to skate a lot, and we feel like we’ve benefited from some time away to create in different environments and focus on experiences that can help us grow,” Alex said.

The “Shib Sibs” won the U.S. title in 2016 and 2017. They won their first world medal in 2011 (bronze) before reaching the world podium again in 2016 and 2017 with silver and bronze, respectively.

They most recently competed at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, where they earned bronze both individually and in the team event.

Maia and Alex Shibutani are now the second ice dance medalists from PyeongChang to announce they’ll sit out at least part of next season. Gold medalists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada will tour instead this fall and are not expected to return to competition.

The siblings haven’t stayed away from the ice entirely in their break from the sport, though — they’ve also been touring and performing in shows.

The Shibutanis became the second set of siblings to earn Olympic ice dance medals after France’s Isabelle and Paul Duchesnay in 1992.

MORE: How Gracie Gold landed in Philadelphia, thoughts competitive return

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