In this deeply personal memoir in the vein of Andre Agassi's Open and Megan Rapinoe’s One Life, the winningest snowboardcross rider of all time chronicles her career, a story of self-growth that reveals the secret of her resilience and how she overcame crushing early failure to win Olympic gold.

On February 16, 2006, twenty-year old American snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis was poised to win the first gold medal in women’s snowboardcross, a sport making its Olympic debut. With a seemingly insurmountable lead over the other competitors, Lindsey only needed a clean run for the gold medal to be hers. But as the five-time world champion entered the last 100 meters the unthinkable happened: choosing to add a little flair to the run, she grabbed the back edge of her board—then lost her balance and fell. It was a mistake that would go down as one of the biggest “unforced errors” in all of sports history.

 For the next sixteen years, Jacobellis endured the criticism and second-guessing of Olympic commentators, sportswriters, and detractors. Day after day she persevered and trained harder on the snow and with her life coach, learning the power of resilience and what the sport really meant to her. The fierce competitor discovered that life, though it may not seem like it, does happen in just the right way: you end up precisely where you were meant to be. At the 2022 Beijing Winter Games, Lindsey twice reached the top of the podium, becoming a two-time Olympic gold medalist. 

 Unforgiving recounts Lindsey’s journey from disappointment to triumph. It is an honest account of one life-altering misstep and its aftermath, and a reflection on what it means to come of age as an athlete in the spotlight, the weight of expectations, falling short, and ultimately fulfilling your dreams. Unforgiving is about the purpose-driven, forward-looking attitude Lindsey took on after her fall, when looking back wouldn’t have done anyone any favors. It’s about the pass she refused to grant herself until she’d earned it. Unforgiving is about the commitment to seek her own truth—and to speak up on one’s own behalf after letting others do it for years. 

 Forgiveness, in the end, is at the heart of Lindsey’s story, but underneath and alongside is its polar opposite—an unending, uncompromising determination to push herself, to prove herself, to power past every obstacle in her path, even those of her own making.  

About the author(s)

Five-time Olympian LINDSEY JACOBELLIS is a two-time Olympic gold medalist, a one-time Olympic silver medalist, a six-time world champion, and a ten-time X Games gold medalist. Her most recent World Cup win marked thirty-one victories, making her the most decorated snowboardcross athlete in history. She is a member of the U.S. Snowboardcross team and a mentor for Super Girl Snow Pro. Lindsey continues to compete professionally and lives in Southern California when not on tour.


“A living testament to the adage 'if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again,' the Jacobellis story profoundly illustrates the power of striving for self-knowledge in pursuit of an elusive goal. Anyone who has failed but refuses to give up should know Lindsey’s story. One of the most inspirational stories of all time.”  — Denise K. Shull, MA, founder and CEO, the ReThink Group, and author of Market Mind Games

“[Jacobellis] delivers a variety of relatable family and sports stories, including accounts of the many injuries she endured and numerous years of competitions fueled by dogged, laser-focused perseverance…inspiring…Sure to appeal to fans of Jacobellis as well as the sport.”  — Kirkus Reviews

“Not only is Lindsey Jacobellis the most decorated snowboarder of all time, but she is a brilliant writer and storyteller. Unforgiving grips your attention from beginning to end, as we learn more about Lindsey’s well-publicized and never-before-told ups and downs—including her incredible double gold medal win at the 2022 Olympics that thrilled the world. Her never-quit attitude will continue to inspire generations to come.”  — Sophie Goldschmidt, President & CEO, U.S. Ski & Snowboard

“I know what it’s like to come so close to achieving your goal only to have it slip through your hands. Watching Lindsey pick herself up and fight her way back to not one but two gold medals at the Beijing games was inspiring. It’s easy to smile and wave when you’re on top, but when things go wrong, it’s what you do next that really shows who you are inside. And Lindsey certainly showed us all!”    — Shaun White, 3-time Olympic Gold Medalist in Men’s Snowboarding

"The medals that come to you in youth are sometimes easy and expected. The hard part is finding the mindset that allows you to keep competing for the next ten or twenty years, as age and life get in the way. That's the story Lindsey Jacobellis tells in "Unforgiving," covering her journey from an early disappointment all the way to her legendary gold medal runs in Beijing. Lindsey's full throttle energy to never give up will inspire all." — Shaun Palmer

Highly recommended for fans of winter and Olympic sports. Also essential for women’s sports history collections. Winter and extreme sports fans will find this Olympic champion’s resiliency, ability to overcome disappointment, and relationship with her family inspiring.” — Booklist

“Olympic gold medalist Jacobellis traces the arc of her snowboarding career in this inspiring ode to self-forgiveness….This forthright account of Jacobellis’s rebound. . .should win her new admirers.”
Publishers Weekly

More Sports & Recreation