Malibu Native to Compete in Winter Olympics

Malibu native Trevor Jacob, 20, is headed to Sochi, Russia to compete in the the Winter Olympics. 

Malibu residents watching the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia will see a familiar face when they tune in to see the U.S. team compete: local native Trevor Jacob.

The 20-year-old Jacob, who attended kindergarten on Point Dume and elementary school at Juan Cabrillo, will compete as a member of the U.S. snowboard cross (SBX) team.The youngest member of the team by at least six years, Jacob won the top spot on the U.S. team by winning the World Cup snowboard cross event in the tiny European country of Andorra on Jan. 11.

“I’m still just in awe,” Jacob said during a telephone interview from Salt Lake City, Utah. “It’s pretty wild to me. I wasn’t positive it was going to work out, because there were so many others trying to make the team. It was the greatest feeling I ever had.”

Snowboard cross is a relatively new event, just added to the Olympic program in 2006. In this competition, six snowboard racers start together at the top of a hill, and race over a series of features trying to reach the finish line first. With the racers pressed into tight quarters and each seeking an advantage, crashes and unexpected finishes are common.

The race course at Sochi is 1,250-meters long with a vertical drop of 210 meters, and has eight turn sections interspersed with jumps and rollers. Jacob had a chance to try the Sochi course last year.

“The course is perfect,” he said. “It’s the best I’ve ever ridden.”

No stranger to the slopes, Jacob started skiing at Mammoth Mountain when he was only two years old with his parents, Jerry and Lynn, and older brother Jordan. His ability and love for snow sports was apparent at an early age, so after attending much of elementary school in Malibu, Jacob’s family moved to Mammoth and home-schooled him, his mother said.

“It worked out better because he could spend more time on the mountain,” said Lynn Jacob.

Trevor says he still has a strong connection to his hometown.

“Malibu is still where all of my close friends are,” Jacob said. “I was just there visiting my parents and I love it.”

Only one other person born in Malibu is known to have competed in the Olympics: Patrick “Pat” Powers, who played on the U.S. men’s volleyball team in the Summer 1984 Olympics and won a gold medal. Other Olympic athletes, such as Greg Louganis, a diving champion, have moved to Malibu as adults.

Jacob’s road to the Olympics began early when he first flashed signs of natural ability.

“He began competing in halfpipe (a snowboard event) at age 10 and everyone saw he had potential,” Lynn Jacob said. “When he was 13, he was the youngest ever to qualify for halfpipe finals in the U.S. Open. His Dad has been very instrumental in his career, and has been able to travel and train with him. We’re a very supportive family.”

At one point, Trevor said he became “burnt out” on the snowboard halfpipe and slope events, and during his later teen years, tried a number of other options. He was on “Nitro-Circus,” an MTV reality show where people perform dangerous stunts around the world, and he also went on a sponsored tour. Two years ago, he was the first to do a “double cork” (backflip) on a skateboard and was also videotaped jumping his snowboard over a moving train.

Lynn Jacob said both of her sons are high-energy, high-adrenaline types.

“Trevor has a need for speed, and snowboard cross really fits his lifestyle,” she said.

When asked if he feels ready for the Olympics, Jacob said, “Yes, I really am. I’ve been snowboarding as much as I can every day. I couldn’t feel more ready to go.”

Jacob’s event, the Men’s Snowboard Cross, is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 17 at 11:00 a.m. Sochi time.