Snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis tore the ACL in her left knee during Winter X Games Aspen 2012 practice Wednesday at Buttermilk Mountain, crashing on the final landing on the snowboarder X course.
Winter X Games medical staff confirmed she will miss Friday's qualifying round, thwarting her chances to become the first female athlete in Winter X Games history to claim a five-peat victory after topping the podium from 2008 to 2011.
"It's with great disappointment that I had to pull out of this year's Winter X Games due to a tear of the ACL of my left knee during practice today after over shooting the last jump," Jacobellis said in a statement. "I am bummed I will not be able to defend my title, and am determined more than ever to take the necessary steps to rehabilitate my knee and come back even stronger next year."
The injury also interrupts her streak on the 2012 FIS World Cup, where she's the current leader after wins in Telluride, Colo. and Veysonnaz, Switzerland.
Jacobellis is a seven-time Winter X Games gold medalist and has been a perennial favorite in the women's snowboarder X competition since her victories from 2003 to 2005.
"I'm constantly trying to progress the sport of boardercross and raise the level for women," she told ESPN in an interview earlier this month.
Her absence this week leaves an opening for other female competitors to step up: Canadian rider Maelle Ricker, a two-time Winter X gold medalist, won the gold medal in snowboard cross at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Alaskan rider Callan Chythlook-Sifsof and French rider Deborah Anthonioz shared the Winter X podium with Jacobellis after a close race in 2011.
"I wish all the best to the ladies this week, and can't wait to be back in 2013," Jacobellis said in the statement Wednesday.
Colin Bane is a freelance writer for ESPN Action Sports and XGames.com.