Whatever the case, Lindsey Jacobellis paid a heavy price for a light touch yesterday as her apparent attempt to embellish clearance of the last obstacle while well ahead in the snowboard cross final saw her crash, allowing Switzerland's Tanja Frieden to scoot past for gold.
Jacobellis, the world champion, attempted a "grab" - that is, a clutch at the side of her board - as she flew over the last of the icy ramps that regularly send snowboarders flying like mad March hares.
The American maintained that she had performed the manoeuvre to stabilise herself, adding - somewhat redundantly - "it didn't work."
Peter Foley, the US team coach, said: "I was yelling at the screen 'Keep racing! Keep racing!' She just cut an edge. I don't think she was showing off."
For Frieden, it was a moment that brought to mind Steven Bradbury's triumph four years ago in the short-track speed skating 1,000m after all three opponents ahead of him fell. At least Jacobellis was able to get up and retrieve silver - if not face.
- More about: