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Lindsey Jacobellis earns the US its first gold medal at the Beijing Olympics

A last-minute mistake cost Lindsey Jacobellis gold 16 years ago. She erased that Wednesday.

BEIJING, China — Lindsey Jacobellis has done it. 

She sped her way to a gold medal in the women's snowboardcross final -- earning the U.S. its first gold medal in the Beijing Olympics. 

Jacobellis, who came to Beijing from Connecticut, rode hard to the line in her snowboardcross final a full 16 years after a mistake cost her the title. The 36-year-old racer was in her fifth Olympics and captured the first U.S. win of what has been an otherwise dismal Games for the U.S.

The victory came after America’s top racer, skier Mikaela Shiffrin, skidded out and failed to finish the first run of the slalom, making her 0-for-2 in Beijing.

Up until Wednesday, Jacobellis was best known for taking a massive lead into the final jump at the 2006 Turin Games, but tweaking her board as she rode over the crest, then falling and settling for silver.

This time, she rode hard all the way to the line, beating France’s Chloe Trespeuch, then covering her heart with her hands as she slowed. Canada’s Meryeta Odine won the bronze.

Val Lick contributed to this story.

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