Jacobellis Wins Bronze at 2023 World Championships
In an unusual day of racing, reigning Olympic gold medalist Lindsey Jacobellis stayed true to form and walked away with a bronze medal in women’s snowboardcross at the Bakuriani 2023 FIS Freestyle Ski, Snowboard and Freeski World Championships. This marks her sixth career individual Worlds medal, in addition to two team event medals from 2017 and 2019. Jacobellis is the most dominant snowboardcross athlete of all time, and on a day marked by gnarly crashes and surprise early eliminations from some heavy hitters, she persevered.
“I was really excited after training because I was putting down some really great times. The only thing is everyone can then study your lines!” laughed Jacobellis. “I was having a lot of trouble with the start today, so my game plan was to hang back and just carry speed through turn two and try to pass along the way. It’s not always the best option but it was what was working for me and my goal was just to be top two and advance and take it one heat at a time. I was really excited to be able to get on the podium here. It’s always a big challenge just to make it into finals, so I’m very happy with myself.”
Due to incoming weather in the Bakuriani, Georgia region over the next few days, the decision was made to cancel time trial qualifying rounds, and move straight into finals with seeded heats. This meant the men started at a round of 16 heats, rather than their usual eight heats for finals, and the women started in eight heat finals instead of their usual quarterfinal start.
The U.S. men started out strong with all four athletes advancing past the 1/16 final round. However, Jake Vedder and Mick Dierdorff were unable to make it past the round of eight, with Nick Baumgartner and Senna Leith going out at the quarterfinal round. It was a bittersweet day for double 2019 World Champion Dierdorff, who announced that this would be the final race of his competitive career.
Reflecting on his career and upcoming retirement, Dierdorff said, “I’m excited for sure. It’s been so fun. I didn’t plan on being able to have a spot at World Champs, so it’s been super cool getting to be here racing with all the guys and gals one more time. Definitely didn’t go how I was hoping but that is boardercross sometimes. No bad feelings, I’m just excited. It’s been a good career, and I’m ready for the next thing.”
Next up for Dierdorff? Wedding planning with his fiancée Katie, starting his own contracting business and working with young snowboarders as a coach at the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club.
Over on the women’s side, tough snow conditions and stiff competition made for a difficult day as well. Bri Schnorrbusch, competing in her first World Championships, was unable to make it out of the round of eight. Although they fought hard, Faye Gulini and Stacy Gaskill both went out during the quarterfinal round.
Despite their early exits from the competition, all the athletes stuck around to watch Jacobellis power through to a bronze medal. Cheering alongside U.S. Snowboard Slopestyle Team coaches and other team staff, the finish area erupted in cheers for Jacobellis as she crossed the finish line in the Big Final. She was joined on the podium by Eva Adamczykova of the Czech Republic in first, and Josie Baff of Australia in second. The men’s podium saw Jakob Dusek of Austria take the win, followed by Martin Noerl of Germany in second, and Omar Visintin of Italy in third.
There’s still plenty of snowboard action to come from Bakuriani. Men’s and women’s snowboard halfpipe finals are scheduled for Friday, March 5 at 1 a.m. ET and men’s and women’s snowboard big air finals on Sunday, March 5 at 5 a.m. ET. The U.S. Snowboardcross Team also has one more chance at a medal with the team competition coming up on Saturday, March 4 at 5:30 a.m. ET.
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*all times ET and subject to change