BEIJING, China — It's been a journey through 40 years of life and four Olympic Winter Games for Nick Baumgartner. And just days after he let his frustrations flow for missing out on a chance for his first Olympic medal, the emotions were much different on Friday when he finally won that medal -- gold to be exact -- with a little help from one of his friends.
Baumgartner and Lindsey Jacobellis, 36, won the first-ever Winter Olympics mixed team snowboardcross event. It came days after Baumgartner failed to make it past the quarterfinals in the men's event.
In mixed team snowboardcross, each team consists of one man and one woman. In each round, the men go down the hill first in groups of four. When the men cross the finish line, their times are transferred to their teammates. The women then take off in a staggered format based on the time difference. The first woman across the line wins.
Baumgartner finished his leg of the final in first place ahead of Italy's Omar Visintin, but giving Jacobellis just a 0.04-second advantage at the start of her run. Waiting nervously at the bottom of the hill, cameras watched him cheer on Jacobellis.
"Use that experience girl. Come on!" Baumgartner yelled to his teammate who's been competing on the Olympic stage since 2006.
Visintin had his arm around the American as both nervously watched their teammates jockey for position on the course. Jacobellis struggled a little at the start, but took the lead on the second-to-last turn on her Italian competitor.
"Come on!" yelled Baumgartner.
"Yeeeesssss!" Baumgartner screamed into the air with his hands up in victory.
He then ran to Jacobellis to hug her.
"Way to ride. That was beautiful," Baumgartner told Jacobellis. "You knew when to go for it. You knew when to set it up in the draft. So sick."
Baumgartner finished 25th in men's snowboardcross at the 2014 Olympics and 20th at the 2010 Games. He finished fourth in 2018.
Now, Baumgartner becomes the oldest person to win an Olympic snowboard gold medal.