ROSA KHUTOR, Russia (Reuters) - American snowboard veteran Lindsey Jacobellis has no problem opening up big leads in Olympic cross competitions. Holding on to them is the problem.
Jacobellis famously blew a 40-metre lead in the Turin final eight years ago when she attempted a trick on the last hill and fell, allowing another racer to pass her.
There was no trick on Sunday but she still managed to fall when comfortably leading her semi-final, causing her to miss out on the final and a chance at a medal.
"I don't think it has to do with the Olympics," Jacobellis told reporters after securing a consolation victory in the small final, which preceded the main Olympic final.
"It's just a fluke when things work out for me and when they don't," she said. "I felt very calm and composed, very excited about this event. I really liked the course and it just so happened not to work out."
A single silver medal from Vancouver in 2010 is a meager haul for a woman who has won eight cross golds in the X Games, and the 28-year-old was at a loss to explain her comparatively modest success at the Olympics.
"I win every other event and then it comes round to the one that I don't win and it happens to be this one," she added. "It's not that I'm over-amped or over-excited, I was really happy with how the course was coming together."
The gold medal was won by Eva Samkova of the Czech Republic, with silver going to Canada's Dominique Maltais and French teenager Chloe Trespeuch coming in third to take the bronze.
Jacobellis said she would chalk this one down to experience, along with her earlier Olympic disappointment.
"A lot of people can say what they want and put as many opinions out there that don't know anything about the sport, and that's fine," she said. "It's not really going to affect how I view myself, and how I view my past resume for everything else."
Asked how disappointed she was compared to after her Turin fall, Jacobellis smiled.
"There are worse things in life than not winning. A lot worse."
Editing by Peter Rutherford