UP’s Baumgartner sets great example with golden finish

Iron River resident Nick Baumgartner gave the Upper Peninsula a new reason to be proud.

He and teammate Lindsey Jacobellis won the gold medal Saturday in the inaugural mixed team snowboard cross at the Winter Olympics in China.

Not that the U.P. wasn’t already proud of Baumgartner, the oldest snowboarder ever on the U.S. team. Our hearts broke right along with his two days earlier when he finished 10th in men’s snowboard cross. He said afterwards: “I’m 40 years old, I’m running out of chances. This one stings. This one hurts.”

He was determined the loss would not be the end of his Olympic story.

“I ain’t stopping on this, I have to do something better to end with,” he said.

Boy, did he and Jacobellis deliver, unexpectedly taking the gold.

We imagine all over the United States, people were cheering on these older athletes as they each crossed the finish line first in their races.

We imagine, too, there wasn’t a dry eye in the U.P. when watching Baumgartner and Jacobellis, age 36, standing on the podium as the national anthem played after those beautiful gold medals were awarded to them.

NBC had a crew stationed with Baumgartner’s family in Iron River during the mixed team snowboard cross competition, broadcast Friday night due to the time difference from China. That allowed him to speak to his family right after the gold medal finish. He gave a special shout-out to his son, Landon, who is a senior at West Iron County High School.

Baumgartner also imparted advice for us all.

“You’re never too late to take what you want from life,” Baumgartner said. “You let yourself down if you quit too early, doesn’t matter how old you are. Our success at our age is a perfect example of that.”

Congratulations to Yooper Nick Baumgartner and his teammate, Lindsey Jacobellis, on bringing home the gold and being great examples of how hard work can pay off in the biggest way at any age.


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