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Friday, April 20 Sports

Olympic gold eludes Roxbury's Lindsey Jacobellis

The superb snowboard cross resume of Lindsey Jacobellis still lacks that elusive Winter Olympic Games gold medal.

The 28-year-old Roxbury product fell short of earning a place on the podium Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.

"Lindsey may not have won an Olympic medal this year," reflected Roxbury First Selectman Barbara Henry, "but she has won the hearts of many forever."

"We in Roxbury are very proud of her and her accomplishments," she added, "and will always be proud to call her one of our own."

Jacobellis, a three-time Olympian, fell near the end of her semifinal race while holding a commanding lead and thus was eliminated from medal contention.

Earlier, she had finished second in her qualifying run and then easily won her quarterfinal race.

Moments before the event's medals race, Jacobellis rebounded to dominate her rivals in a consolation race and thereby earn seventh place.

Sports fans and many other residents of the Greater New Milford area and throughout the United States tuned in Sunday, Feb. 16 to view Jacobellis' bid for a medal.

"We are so proud that this is the third time Lindsey has made it to the Olympics to represent the U.S. and Roxbury," said Henry. "Anyone who has worked as hard as she has certainly deserves being on Team USA."

Jacobellis toed the line Sunday on a mountainside just outside Sochi in the Black Sea region of Russia in an attempt to claim her first Olympic gold.

"She's a champion already in my view," said Roxbury's chief executive.

Dominant in her sport for nearly a decade, Jacobellis has eight times won her specialty at the X Games and owns three FIS world championships, as well as umpteen World Cup individual titles.

Yet a spill as a then 20-year-old near the finish of the 2006 gold medal race in Torino, Italy famously stole away an apparent victory.

Four years later, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Jacobellis was the victim of another racer's mistake and bowed out in the semifinals.

She soon was back winning races, but more recently has had to battle back from a torn ACL that sidelined her for the better part of two seasons.

Born in Danbury and raised in Roxbury, where her parents still live, Jacobellis attended local schools before she shifted her base of operations as a teen to Vermont to focus on her winter sports skills.

By 2006, she was already world famous.

Ever since, particularly after so well publically handling her disappointment in Torino, Jacobellis has accumulated a countless legion of fans.

The most ardent of those fans might well have been in the sleepy town of Roxbury as Jacobellis once again Sunday stepped into the world's athletic spotlight.

"Everyone should be very proud of Lindsey and her accomplishments, her drive, focus and determination," remarked Henry.

Norm Cummings