You’ve probably seen by now the footage of Lindsay Jacobellis showboating before the end of the snowboard cross event at the Olympics and blowing a sure-fire gold medal(sidenote: I’m not really into the X-Gamesification of the Olympics, but I’ve got to say that the snowboard cross is an awesome event. “Incidental” contact is allowed while snowboarders have to jump hills and ride out sharp curves in a race with a clear winner – that’s stuff a traditional sports fan like myself will watch). Minnesota Red Sox wondered why she seemed completely unfazed by the unbelievable choke job (other than the use of weed).
Here’s why: this was the best thing Jacobellis could have possibly done for her career. If Jacobellis had simply won the gold medal, she would have just been another American who dominated yet another X-Games-style snowboarding event and be forgotten after the Olympics were over. By blowing the gold medal in such spectacular fashion, however, Jacobellis has become a household name with her story plastered across the front page of every newspaper in the United States. Her image is also going to run on ESPN Classic next to shots of Leon Lett and Greg Norman until the end of time.
At the very least, Jacobellis can parlay her fame (or infamy) into a boxing match on Fox with Tonya Harding in the next ten years. That’s more attention than a snowboarder could ever hope for.