Samkova dominates for gold; Jacobellis falls short of redemption
Krasnaya Polyana, Russia (SportsNetwork.com) - From the start of the women's snowboard cross event, Czech Eva Samkova looked as though she would be tough to beat.
She in fact was.
Samkova was in the front of the field from the seeding to the finals, taking gold on Sunday at the Sochi Olympics.
Canadian Dominique Maltais, a bronze winner at the 2006 Olympics, grabbed silver and France's Chloe Trespeuch finished third.
American Lindsey Jacobellis was taking a third attempt at a gold medal, but like the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, she failed to make it out of the semifinals.
Fellow U.S. snowboarder Faye Gulini did advance to the final, finishing fourth after Bulgaria's Alexandra Jekova and Italy's Michela Moioli touched boards and wiped out in the big final.
The 20-year-old Samkova, a former X Games silver medalist, had the fastest time in the seeding run, coming in at 1 minute and 20.61 seconds. She then won both her quarterfinal and semifinal heats to roll into the final, where she once again jumped out in front.
Samkova even appeared to do a little fist pump midair on the final jump and flashed her drawn-on mustache at the bottom of the hill after crossing the finish line.
While Samkova showed reason to fear the 'stache, it was another winter of disappointment for Jacobellis.
The 28-year-old was in line to grab gold in this event back in 2006, leading the final when she grabbed her board on a jump at the bottom of the hill and fell. She settled for silver.
Looking to rebound four years ago in Vancouver, she cut a gate and failed to advance to the final.
This time around in Sochi, Jacobellis had the second-fastest time in the seeding run and finished first in her quarterfinal heat.
Again onto the semifinal, Jacobellis was leading her group when she lost her balance and fell on the final corner.
And again like Vancouver, she rebounded to win the small final, giving her seventh place in Sochi but little consolation.
A wipe out also took Canadian and 2010 gold medal-winner Maelle Ricker out of the running as she was one of three riders to go down in the second quarterfinal. She was competing despite a recent wrist injury that required surgery.
Samkova's victory closed out an event that saw two scary crashes in the seeding round.
Norway's Helene Olafsen was the first snowboarder to go, but was unable to finish following a crash. The 23-year-old was fourth in the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver and was coming off a third-place finish at the 2013 FIS World Championships.
American Jacqueline Hernandez went sixth and the 21-year-old's first Olympic run ended when she slammed her head and neck on the ground on a fall. Hernandez at first laid motionless on the snow, but eventually was sitting up and talking before being taken off on a stretcher.
The two crashes came one day after Russian skicrosser Maria Komissarova sustained a serious spinal injury while training.
02/16 05:37:53 ET