- Freestyle Skiing
Getting to know freeskier Maddie Bowman
As freeski halfpipe prepares to make its debut at the 2014 Winter Games, its athletes are getting ready to make their debut as well. With every new Olympic event comes a new group of athletes that you may not know about. Meet Maddie Bowman.
Maddie Bowman is just a year out of high school who had a coming out party in 2012 when she earned silver in halfpipe at the Winter X Games, and followed that up in 2013 with a gold. The South Lake Tahoe, Calif., native had skiing, and overall athletics, in her blood. She’s the daughter of two former professional skiers, and also played soccer in high school, where she was part of two state championship soccer teams.
Bowman spoke with NBCOlympics.com about freeski halfpipe’s inaugural Olympics, MMA training, Mulan and her lucky underwear.
What was your reaction when you found out freeski halfpipe would become an Olympic event?
I was at my home in Lake Tahoe when it was announced. I was like ‘wow that’s really cool, maybe I can do that’ but then it kind of left my mind and didn’t think about it again. Then all of a sudden it was all in my face, like ‘wow maybe it’s a possibility.'
Embedded owg_slideshow: Model Olympian: Maddie Bowman
What do you want the audience to know about freeski halfpipe?
I want people to know my sport isn’t very structured. It came out of a rebellion like snowboarding and it’s more free and creative than other Olympic sports, which is something that makes it great.
The U.S. is so deep in talent. Are there any threats to the U.S.?
How did you get into skiing halfpipe?
Originally I was a racer and I got out. I didn’t like how uptight the whole vibe was so I ended up going out with the free ride team at my mountain and we skied park and did it all. I still ski the park because I love it, but halfpipe is more competitive.
Would you attempt compete in two Olympic sports?
I never considered that. I decided a long time ago I didn’t want to compete in slopestyle.
How competitive are you with your teammates?
I wouldn’t say we’re competitive against each other. We’re more competitive against ourselves and if you see someone do a new trick you want to do it too. That’s how we compete. We push each other in a postive way like any friends who go out skiing would.
What are some tricks you’re working on?
I haven’t learned any new tricks lately. I am going to work on some new ones, but I don’t know how easy they’ll be to get.
So no scoop on anything new?
No, I don’t want to say I’m going to do something and not do it.
OK, can you tell us what some of the big tricks in halfpipe are that viewers should be looking for?
For the women, I would definitely say that [900s] are a big trick, and I think going into [Sochi] we’ll probably see some [1080s]. It’s a big trick. Rotation is important.
Since this would be your first Olympics, what are you most looking forward to?
Oh gosh! If I make it I am most excited to experience it and get the most out of it. I can’t wait to see our name. It will also be cool to see the other sports we don’t get to see, like hockey.
If you win, a medal or a gold, will you celebrate by jumping into the Black Sea?
I’ll definitely be jumping into the Black Sea regardless of what happens.
Have you recruited any of your teammates?
I think Grete [Eliassen] would do it with me.
There’s no offseason anymore for you. What’s it like to travel so much at your age?
It’s so cool [but] you get homesick by the end of it and you go stir crazy when you go home.
What do you miss?
My friends and my dog. He’s a four-year-old yellow lab. He’s so loving and cute, but he’s not smart.
Does he train with you?
No, I tried. Sit and come is as far as we got.
How close are you with your family?
I think skiing has been one of the things that’s at the center of our family. Unless we’re skiing, according to my brother, I’m stupid. My brother and I both do it together and have a great time. It definitely brought us closer as we got older because we don’t want to beat each other up anymore.
We heard you’ve done MMA training.
I did it for my senior project. It was really fun, but I haven’t done it recently. I haven’t found the right gym for it.
Embedded video_content_type: Killer Olympic workouts
What do you like about it?
It’s a great workout. You always feel happy when you release endorphins. For me it was trying something new and doing something completely out of my element. It’s also pretty aggressive and release aggression. It’s really fun now that I can beat up my brother again.
Do you have a lot of aggression?
Not a lot. I’m pretty mellow. Who doesn’t like to hit a punching bag?
How did you do this for your senior project?
In high school you did a senior project and write a huge paper about it and demonstrate it front of judges and I picked that and loved it and continued doing it after. My brother’s senior project is hydroponics – he’s not growing weed! He’s really into agriculture. He went to ask his mentor and he said I’m not going to help you grow pot.
Are you currently enrolled in college?
I’m currently going to Westminster College in Salt Lake City.
How’s that going?
I really like it. It’s obviously a slow process - it’s going to take me a lot more years than a regular person, but I like the balance in my life to have something to focus on something other than skiing.
What’s your major?
I’m considering a math major. I want to be a math teacher when I grow up.
You already are grown up.
I refuse to grow up.
Embedded owg_slideshow: Growing up Maddie Bowman
Growing up you used to watch the movie Mulan.
Oh I love that movie.
Why do you love it so much?
What I like is it gives out the honest message that women can do what men can do. You can do anything you want to do and be strong; don’t let anyone put you down - it’s a good message. My mom didn’t show me the princess movies because you don’t need a man to save you, you can do it all by yourself so she got me that. It’s pretty strong women.
How many times have you watched it?
I don’t know if I can count. I still watch it.
Do you have any pre-event rituals or superstitions?
I have a couple of pairs of lucky underwear.
Have you won any big races wearing them?
X Games. That was cool.
What type of underwear are they?
They’re blue with green lace. That’s it.
Embedded owg_slideshow: 'Rebel'lious U.S. freeski uniforms unveiled
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