X Games: Tahoe’s Maddie Bowman makes it four in a row in ski halfpipe
The Aspen Times
Maddie Bowman is once again the queen of freeskiing superpipe.
The decorated Winter X Games skier from South Lake Tahoe won her fourth consecutive gold medal in the women’s ski superpipe Friday night in Aspen.
The 22-year-old Sochi Olympic gold medalist didn’t just win the event.
She did so in historic fashion, becoming the first woman in competition to land a switch 900 in the superpipe.
That means she took off backward with 900 degrees of rotation, landing successfully.
“I … just learned it two nights ago,” the effervescent Bowman said of the new trick that dazzled the Aspen crowd Friday night.
Ayana Onozuka of Japan won the silver medal.
She posted a score of 85 on her third and final run to vault into second place, ahead of bronze medalist Annalisa Drew of Andover, Massachusetts (83).
Bowman’s winning score was 87.33, on her second run.
On her victory lap of a third run, Bowman again dropped the switch 900 on the spellbound crowd.
The win was special for Bowman because it came almost a year after she suffered a knee injury.
“Injuries are really hard,” Bowman said. “I’m just so happy. It feels so good.”
Asked why she went big in her third run after already clinching the gold medal, Bowman said, “I wanted to do it for the boys.”
Bowman’s streak of four in a row included wins in all weather conditions. Last year, a light snow fell during the women’s ski superpipe.
On Friday night, the weather was clear with moderate temperatures.
“I did a trick I’ve never done before, and that really helped me out,” Bowman said.
She said she was able to attempt the trick in competition because of the supportive environment of the Winter X Games, including plenty of practice.
“And I tried not to psyche myself out too much,” Bowman said.
Fourth place Friday night went to Cassie Sharp of British Columbia.
Janina Kuzma of New Zealand finished fifth.
Bowman, who collected her sixth Winter X Games medal, won the first gold medal in women’s ski halfpipe at the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014.