"It sounds a little Disney," says Jacobellis, "but my mom always told me, 'You can't dwell on the past.' And I'm not. I'm looking forward."
After a predictable period of post-Olympic blahs, during which she wondered why she was devoting her life to something she found so stressful, Jacobellis won a few events. "And I started to find my passion for the sport again, my hunger for that competitive edge."
That hunger has manifested itself in a slew of recent victories. After winning her fifth X Games gold last month, she laid waste to the field at Cypress, taking early leads on her overmatched opponents and cruising to victory. "Lindsey is the only female on the World Cup circuit who can train with the guys and not lose ground to them," says Seth Wescott, 32, the elder statesman of American boardercross. "That's why she's so dominant."
After winning the gold medal in Turin, Wescott shattered his left forearm at a race in Japan two years ago—he's walking around with 13 screws and a plate in him—and only this season has begun to recover his mojo. He won his first World Cup event in December and has continued to ride at a high level, despite being knocked out of a lot of races through no fault of his own.
In snowboardcross those things have a way of evening out. Wescott was in fourth place in Friday's final when the karmic wheel turned in his favor: Canada's Fran�ois Boivin caught an edge, took a spill and handed the American the bronze.
No fall elicited more drama than White's spill at the end of a meaningless run early in the day. (He'd already qualified for the finals.) When he tried to get into the VIP tent at the bottom of the pipe so a doctor could examine his strained right thumb, the guard at the door wasn't budging.
After a brief standoff it was explained to the sentry that the slight and freckled hair farmer in front of him happened to be the world's best extreme athlete. Once inside, White picked at a bowl of fruit salad while icing his thumb and riffing on subjects ranging from artificial knees to an American Express commercial he filmed a few years back ("It was so cool. Scorsese kept giving me lines") to what he does on his summer vacation.
He tends to spend them burnishing his credentials as the most dominant crossover athlete in the brief history of extreme sports. The owner of nine Winter X gold medals, he picked up another gold in skateboarding at the '07 Summer X Games. "Skateboarding is training," White says, "but I don't think of it as training. It's fun. Then, when the time comes, I'm so amped to get back on my [snow]board."
Behind the whimsical demeanor and the theatrical drapery of his hair, there lurks an �berintense competitor; a poor loser. In December, White finished second behind Danny Davis at a competition in Colorado. Afterward judges told Mike Jankowski, White's coach, that Davis had won on the strength of his switch backside spins—difficult, unconventional tricks.
"That day, that day," Jankowski recalls, "Shaun hiked back up the pipe and stayed out until he'd learned backside spins.