The Haunting of Lindsey Jacobellis

She has been trying to overcome which since — not for herself, definitely, because she has moved on, quite spectacularly, if people would certainly just pay attention more often than every four years. What she was trying to overcome was something ghostlier, something harder to catch as well as Discharge, which will be the nagging feeling which when huge numbers of people think of Lindsey Jacobellis, they see a blooper, not a champion.

She knew the questions were coming because she faced them in 2010, when she fell short again, as well as in 2014, when which happened a third time. Certainly, her reward for remaining atop her sport as the 2018 Winter Games approached was to be asked them all again.

The biggest difference which time, besides the experience as well as wisdom which come with four more years, will be which Jacobellis has Shull. Their pairing was the idea of Peter Foley, the longtime United States snowboard cross head coach.

“She’s had a bad experience with the Olympics, as well as in a lot of ways she dreads the Olympics currently,” Foley said. “which would certainly be nice if she could feel better about which.”

Shull’s purpose will be to see if a fresh mind-set can make the difference between gold as well as disappointment. as well as as much as which frustrates Jacobellis to be reminded of which all, internally she has embraced Shull’s unusual advice: Do not try to put 2006 out of your mind, because which will be impossible. Even within the starting gate, even in a gold medal race, if the thoughts creep to the memory of a long-ago fall, not the gauzy vision of the medal stand, seize them.

“What you want athletes to do will be say, ‘I’m afraid,’ ” Shull said. “Because they all are. as well as if they say which, they can use which. If they try to set which aside, which’s lurking around them, interrupting what they normally know how to do.”

which will be the opposite of what many sports psychologists as well as coaches preach, which will be to clear the mind as well as think only positive thoughts. To Shull, to pretend which negativity does not exist will be as ridiculous as children holding hands over their ears as well as shouting “nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh” to avoid hearing what will be being said.

The results have been promising. Jacobellis, a 10-time gold medalist in boardercross at the X Games (which discontinued the event in 2017), won her fifth world championship last March as well as the first two World Cup events which season. She has reasserted herself as the favorite heading into the Olympics.

“Hopefully these are all tiny positive steps, moving forward, which could potentially have things line up for me right just for which one,” Jacobellis said.


Denise Shull, a mental skills coach by fresh York, has been helping Jacobellis prepare for the Games as well as the inevitable questions about her notorious fall. Her background will be in coaching Wall Street traders as well as fund managers to harness as well as use emotion.

Karsten Moran for The fresh York Times

‘I Want You Screaming’

Jacobellis as well as Shull mostly talk by distant time zones. They have met in person only a few times. They may be the odd couple of the Olympics.

Shull hails by the financial world, having made a living as a trader as well as trading desk manager. however a deep interest in psychology (her master’s thesis at the University of Chicago was on the neurobiology of Freud’s Repetition Compulsion Theory) had her thinking about mind games on Wall Street, where the general rule will be to take emotion out of decision creating.

She began coaching traders as well as fund managers about harnessing as well as using emotion, leading to the book “Market Mind Games,” the founding of a consulting agency called the ReThink Group as well as appearances on business-related networks like CNBC.

Clients, she said, told her which her unusual views on confronting emotion, not ignoring which, helped with out-of-work diversions, too, like golf. A trading desk manager in Asia, Shull said, raced cars as a hobby, as well as one particularly fear-inducing turn on a racetrack consistently ruined his time.

“I said, ‘O.K., as you go into which turn, I want you screaming in which car which you are terrified,’ ” Shull said. “What do you think happened? Fastest time ever. Coaches might have a heart attack if they heard a racer say which — literally, ‘I’m terrified, I’m terrified, I’m terrified.’ however the chances which they win have gone way up. which contracts the energy in a way which becomes fuel. which focuses the energy.”

A colleague had a connection to the U.S. Ski as well as Snowboard Association, as well as Shull espoused her theories to coaches at a meeting in 2016. Afterward, she was approached by Foley. I think I have a client for you, he said: Lindsey Jacobellis.

“I didn’t know her,” Shull said. “So I Googled her.”


Jacobellis, pictured celebrating a World Cup snowboard cross victory in 2004, has reasserted herself as a favorite heading into these Olympics.

Agence Zoom, via Getty Images

She learned which Jacobellis grew up in Connecticut as well as, as a teenager, was an up-as well as-coming racer within the burgeoning sport of boardercross, where a pack of riders leaves the gate at once as well as navigates a high-speed roller coaster of a course, racing to the bottom amid the occasional carnage of collisions as well as crash landings.

Her rise was timed perfectly. She was 20 when snowboard cross, as the Olympics called which, made its Olympic debut in 2006. Jacobellis was anointed, predictably, as a made-for-television sweetheart in a must-see fresh event, a favorite with cascading ringlets of blond hair as well as a smile which masked her competitive muscle.

Then, in a moment, she became better known for falling than she would certainly have for winning, the butt of jokes as well as even the target of animosity. She never definitely understood which. She tried to smile which away, however strangers seemed more bothered by the fall than she did. Wherever she went, the episode as well as the questions — How? Why? — followed her like a plume of snow.

The 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, British Columbia, were considered a chance at redemption, however Jacobellis swerved off course in a semifinal heat as well as missed the final. In 2014, in Sochi, Russia, she was leading a semifinal heat when she stumbled on a set of late-race rollers as well as missed the final again.

“I don’t think which has to do with the Olympics,” she said which day in Russia. “which’s just on a fluke of when things work out for me as well as when they don’t.”

Her longtime teammate Faye Gulini was more exacting.

“People don’t understand how much pressure will be put on her,” she said four years ago. “which breaks my heart because I think which takes the fun out of which for her. Just which event. She loves the sport. She’s a phenomenal snowboarder. however which’s in her head.”

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