Who is Marie Martinod?
Name: Marie Martinod
2016/17 AFP halfpipe ranking: 1st
- 2014 Olympic halfpipe silver medalist
- 4-time X Games halfpipe medalist (2 gold, 2 bronze)
- 2017 AFP halfpipe champion
- 2-time FIS World Cup halfpipe champion (2004, 2017)
Martinod came out of a five-year retirement in 2011 so that she could compete at the 2014 Sochi Games, where freeski halfpipe made its Olympic debut. The decision to return to freeskiing worked out well, as she ended up winning the silver medal.
Now 33, Martinod is typically the oldest competitor at contests nowadays. Age has not slowed her down though, as she is coming off what is arguably the best season of her career. A solid medal contender, Martinod will be up against the likes of Maddie Bowman, Cassie Sharpe and Ayana Onozuka for gold.
Martinod emphasizes style in her runs and executes very clean grabs. Back-to-back flairs were a staple of her runs during the 2016/17 season. She can also go big and land technical tricks — the last hit of her winning run at X Games in 2017 featured a massive 900 that was over 11 feet out of the pipe.
Martinod, whose mother was a ski instructor, was on skis at the age of 2. She attended the Albertville Olympics, which were located not far from her hometown of La Plagne, in 1992 and soon began competing in freestyle events (aerials and moguls) before later switching to halfpipe skiing, a sport that was still relatively new at the time.
Road to Sochi
The International Ski Federation (FIS) launched a World Cup series for freeski halfpipe for the 2003/04 season, and Martinod was its first Crystal Globe winner on the women's side. Two years later, she earned a bronze medal at X Games. But soon after, she decided to leave the sport in order to start a family. It was only when freeski halfpipe was set to be added to the Olympic program that Martinod was convinced by friends (including the late Sarah Burke) to make a comeback. In 2011, she returned from a competitive hiatus that had lasted about five years with the goal of making the Olympics.
2016/17 season recap
This past season was one of Martinod's strongest. For the first time in her career, she won the AFP (Association of Freeskiing Professionals) halfpipe title. She also captured her second FIS World Cup halfpipe title, a full 13 years after winning it last. During the season, she won a number of events, including X Games.
Off the snow
In 2009, Martinod gave birth to her first daughter, Melirose. Martinod's family, including Melirose, was in attendance at the Sochi Olympics when she won her silver medal, and Melirose even joined her on the podium.