Who is Maddie Bowman?
Name: Maddie Bowman
Country: United States
Age: 23 (will turn 24 on 1/10/18)
2016/17 AFP halfpipe ranking: 3rd
- 2014 Olympic halfpipe gold medalist
- 4-time X Games halfpipe gold medalist (2013-2016)
- 3-time AFP halfpipe champion (2013, 2014, 2016)
Bowman competed in the Olympic debut of freeski halfpipe at the 2014 Winter Games. Arriving in Sochi as the heavy favorite, she delivered on those expectations by winning the gold medal.
Though Bowman is still one of the top medal favorites, there is more parity within the freeski halfpipe field than there was four years ago. Cassie Sharpe, Marie Martinod and Ayana Onozuka are among Bowman's biggest obstacles in her quest to repeat as Olympic champion.
Potential Olympic records
So far, only one Olympic athlete (Alex Bilodeau, moguls) has won multiple gold medals in freestyle skiing. With a win in PyeongChang, Bowman would match that mark and could also potentially become the first woman to win two gold medals in freestyle skiing.
Bowman is one of the most technical skiers in the women's halfpipe field. She has back-to-back 900s and the switch 900 in her bag of tricks.
Bowman's parents were both former ski racers and then later coaches. (Her dad was once a member of the U.S. national team for Alpine skiing.) The South Lake Tahoe native was on skis at age 2 and originally participated in ski racing before eventually discovering freeskiing.
At X Games Aspen in 2016, Bowman became the first woman to land a switch 900 in a ski halfpipe competition.
Bowman has had several knee surgeries since the last Olympics. In 2015, shortly after winning her third straight X Games gold medal, she suffered a torn ACL. Though it was a difficult recovery process, she returned the following season and won X Games for the fourth consecutive year.
2016/17 season recap
Last season was a down year by Bowman's historically lofty standards, as she didn't record any major victories. Her best finishes were third place at X Games and second place at the Mammoth Grand Prix. It was just the second time in five years that she didn't end the year ranked No. 1 in the AFP (Association of Freeskiing Professionals) halfpipe standings, with the other year being her injury-shortened 2014/15 campaign.
Off the snow
Bowman played soccer in high school and even won a state championship. Nowadays, she enjoys a lot of outdoor activities and is actively pursuing a degree from Westminster College.
"I just kind of burst into tears. It’s hard to explain the feeling, I’d say the best way to explain it is every emotion you’ve ever felt hits you at once. And it’s just super overwhelming: you’re excited that you won, you’re happy that the pressure’s over, it’s relieving." — Maddie Bowman on winning gold at the last Olympics