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Italy's Moioli wins snowboard cross gold; USA's Jacobellis narrowly misses podium

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Closing in on her first Olympic gold medal, Lindsey Jacobellis lost the lead in the middle of the women's snowboard cross final and narrowly missed the podium.

During that big final, Jacobellis had held the lead for much of the race, but as the riders came out of a banked turn and toward a jump, Italy's Michela Moioli made her move and was able to pass Jacobellis. From there, the Italian was able to use the clear track in front of her to hold off all the other racers and win her first Olympic gold medal.

Jacobellis continued to get shuffled back through the field and was as far back as fifth when the racers hit the final jump. A crash from France's Chloe Trespeuch at the very end of the race allowed Jacobellis to sneak into fourth place, but she was unable to catch reigning Olympic champion Eva Samkova of the Czech Republic for third.

The final margin between Jacobellis and her second Olympic medal: 0.03 seconds.

"It was really close, we were mixing things up, so it was pretty intense," Jacobellis said afterward. "There was a lot of drafting going on, so it's really hard to hold a lead and someone can really capitalize on your speed and take over very easily. So that's kind of how this course was. I was just really happy that I made it into the finals."

In her previous Olympic apperances, Jacobellis won silver after famously falling near the end of the final in 2006 and then crashed out of the semifinals in both 2010 and 2014. Though she has been the most decorated woman in boardercross for much of her career, she was still seeking that elusive Olympic gold medal.

While Jacobellis didn't get the story book ending that many hoped for, Moioli certainly did.

In 2014, Moioli reached the big final at the Sochi Games and could have won a medal in her Olympic debut, but she ended up crashing out of the final and suffering a torn ACL.

Four years later, the 22-year-old Italian came to PyeongChang as the World Cup points leader and was able to strike gold with a come-from-behind win. Moioli stayed close to Jacobellis throughout the early part of the race before eventually making her pass and holding on for victory.

"I knew [Jacobellis] was faster," Moioli said. "She's strong, she's so strong. But today I felt like I had something more than the other girls and I just used this thing to stay in front, to take the lead. And when I was in the lead, [I thought] 'OK, the girls are back on me, and they have to stay back on me. I just want to be solely strong, fast and arrive at the finish.'"

The silver medal went to 16-year-old Julia Pereira, a rising star from France.

Samkova, who continued her tradition of painting on a mustache (in the colors of the Czech flag) before each race, ended up with bronze.

Videos from several of the key heat races can be found further below.


Gold: Michela Moioli (ITA)

Silver: Julia Pereira (FRA)

Bronze: Eva Samkova (CZE)

4. Lindsey Jacobellis (USA)

5. Chloe Trespeuch (FRA)

6. Alexandra Jekova (BUL)

7. Charlotte Bankes (FRA)

8. Raffaella Brutto (ITA)

9. Tess Critchlow (CAN)

10. Nelly Moenne Loccoz (FRA)

11. Belle Brockhoff (AUS)

12. Kristina Paul (OAR)




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