Who is Maddie Mastro?
Name: Maddie Mastro
Country: United States
2016/17 World Snowboard Tour ranking: 9th
Mastro has not yet competed at a Winter Olympics. PyeongChang 2018 would be her first.
Having progressed into a consistent podium contender in women's halfpipe over the last few years, Mastro will be in the mix for a medal at the PyeongChang Winter Games.
Mastro is capable of putting together technical halfpipe runs and has a lot of inverted tricks, such as cripplers and Haakon flips, in her arsenal.
After starting off on skis at age 2, Mastro's parents convinced her to switch to snowboarding when she was 6 — all they had to do was buy her a pink board.
A native of Southern California, Mastro grew up riding at Mountain High and Big Bear, where she got to know fellow U.S. Olympic team hopefuls Chloe Kim and Hailey Langland. "We were, like, the only three young girls on the mountain. So whenever we saw each other, you go and ride with them. Like, there's another girl, let's go ride with her," Mastro says. "And it really helped push us all as we've gotten older. And still, to this day, all our snowboarding inspires and pushes each other."
Watching the Olympics as a kid helped ignite Mastro's passion for snowboarding even further. She still remembers the feeling she got as she tuned in to the women's halfpipe competition in 2010. "I watched Torah Bright's runs in the halfpipe and something just clicked," she says. "I was 10 years old and I remember sitting there knowing this is what I want to do."
Road to PyeongChang
In early 2016, Mastro emerged from the amateur ranks and earned a pair of podium finishes at U.S. Grand Prix events. "I always had the goal of going to the Olympics," she says. "I think [that was] my breakthrough moment when I realized I could truly achieve this." Mastro also finished fourth at X Games Oslo that season.
Mastro ended the following season (2016/17) on a high note when she placed third at the prestigious Burton U.S. Open. Since then, she has kept the momentum rolling into the 2017/18 season. In her first three contests of the current season, Mastro finished third at Winter Games New Zealand, second at the Copper Grand Prix, and fourth at Dew Tour.
Off the snow
Mastro was always very athletic and involved in a number of sports, but soccer was a huge passion of hers. "It has been a big part of my life for as long as I can remember. I love soccer," she says. "I have made some of my best friends from playing soccer and learned so many life lessons from the sport."
A few years back though, Mastro had to make a choice between soccer and snowboarding, something she says was a "very hard decision." She was playing at a high enough level that she was on a club soccer team but ultimately had to give up her spot so that she could focus on snowboarding.
"I think about the experience of the Olympics all the time and what it would be like standing up at the top of the pipe. Or, like, what I would want my halfpipe run to be. And it seems very surreal. I go over it so many times in my head." — Maddie Mastro on the possibility of making her first U.S. Olympic team