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Who is Mac Bohonnon?

Mac Bohonnon
Mitchell Haaseth/NBC Sports

Who is Mac Bohonnon?

The 2015 aerials World Cup champion is looking to get the U.S. back on the Olympic podium

Name: Mac Bohonnon
Country: United States
Age: 22
Sport: Freestyle Skiing
Discipline: Aerials
2016/17 FIS World Cup ranking: 2nd

Accolades

  • 5th place, 2014 Olympics
  • 2015 World Cup aerials champion
  • 3 World Cup wins (as of 2016/17 season's end)

Olympic experience
Bohonnon entered the last Olympic season as a member of the U.S. aerials program's C-team, which is the third tier within the organization. Because of this, he seemed like a longshot to make the Olympic team, but after getting the chance to compete in a few late-season World Cup events, Bohonnon impressed the coaches enough to earn himself a spot. The lone American competing at the 2014 Winter Games in men's aerials, he exceeded expectations with a fifth-place finish.

Olympic outlook
A frequent podium finisher on the World Cup circuit, Bohonnon's presence will give Team USA a strong medal hopeful in men's aerials. Chinese skier Qi Guangpu is likely to be one of his biggest challengers in the battle for gold.

Ski beginnings
Bohonnon started skiing when he was about 18 months old. After an unsuccessful stint in Alpine skiing, he found a better fit in freestyle, which merged two of his favorite activities — bouncing on trampolines and skiing. He moved away from his family to train at Lake Placid with the U.S. aerials developmental team when he was 13 years old.

At age 16, Bohonnon found himself struggling to progress with aerials and even had a coach tell him that he should quit and go back to mogul skiing instead. But then Eric Bergoust, the 1998 Olympic champion, came onboard and began working with him. "He kind of single-handedly saved my career," Bohonnon says. After working with Bergoust, Bohonnon made the U.S. national team the next year, then the Olympic team a year after that.

Breakout moment
In January 2014, an injury to a teammate opened up a last-second spot for Bohonnon to compete at a World Cup event in Quebec. He immediately booked a flight and was there competing the next day. The result was a second-place finish. "That performance filled me with confidence, as it was my first year performing triple backflips on snow and I immediately found myself able to compete with the best in the world," Bohonnon recalls. About a week later, he found out that he had been selected for the Olympic team.

Since Sochi
After a surprise season that included a trip to the Olympics, Bohnnon was named the World Cup circuit's Rookie of the Year in 2014. He followed that up by winning the aerials Crystal Globe, a trophy given to the champion of the World Cup circuit, one season later. But he struggled during the 2015/16 campaign, finishing well outside the top ten at a number of events. (He ended the season ranked 10th overall in the final standings.)

Q&A with Mac Bohonnon

Mac Bohonnon refutes the notion that aerialists can't ski and recalls the time he got kicked off the team

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2016/17 season recap
Bohonnon got his groove back last season, recording top-four finishes in four out of seven World Cup events. One of his best results was a third-place finish at the Olympic test event in PyeongChang. His solid results landed him second overall in the World Cup rankings, though he finished behind Qi Guangpu by a considerable margin.

Off the snow
One of Bohonnon's favorite hobbies is fly fishing, which he tries to do on the Provo River with his friends as much as possible. He also enjoys doing videography and photography, particularly for his teammates or other skiers. In the summer months, Bohonnon earns some extra money by performing in freestyle shows with the Flying Ace All-Stars.

Quotes
"Mac has always been so passionate about this sport, ever since he started doing it. And to be able to be brought in by him, someone who's so excited about it and loves what he does, makes me feel the same way about it." — U.S. aerial skier Kiley McKinnon on Mac Bohonnon's passion for the sport

Social media
Instagram: @mbohonnon
Twitter: @MacBohonnon
Facebook: @macbohonnonski
YouTube: Mac Bohonnon

Freestyle Skiing

Get to know the stars of freestyle skiing:

Aerials:

Mac Bohonnon (USA) | Ashley Caldwell (USA) | Kiley McKinnon (USA)

Moguls:

Britt Cox (AUS) | Justine Dufour-Lapointe (CAN) | Jaelin Kauf (USA) | Mikael Kingsbury (CAN) | Philippe Marquis (CAN) | Morgan Schild (USA) | Brad Wilson (USA)

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