Tahoe’s Maddie Bowman takes gold at X Games
ASPEN, Colo. — With light snow falling and the bright lights of ESPN illuminating the night, Maddie Bowman launched the 2015 Winter X Games in record-setting fashion Wednesday.
Bowman, the undisputed ski queen of the halfpipe, won the women’s ski superpipe for the third consecutive year as the X Games got off to an early start at Buttermilk.
“When I came into these Games, I realized I could do a three-peat,” Bowman said in the festive finish area. “I came out here tonight and thought about the skiing and how much I loved it.”
That’s when the Olympic gold medalist dropped into the gigantic halfpipe at Buttermilk and dominated the competition.
“I think that’s the key these last three years,” the diminutive Bowman said behind a brilliant smile, accented by a delicate silver nose ring. “It’s the skiing and how much I love it.”
Known for her outgoing, jovial personality, the South Lake Tahoe skier was all business when she hit the halfpipe for the first of her three runs.
Wearing a stylish green hoodie, Bowman awed the crowd with amplitude out of the halfpipe and sophisticated tricks in the pipe. Her first-run score of 85.00 ended up winning the competition.
Ayanas Onozuka of Japan finished second after posting an 83.33 on her second run. The bronze medal went to Squaw Valley skier Brita Sigourney of Carmel.
“I think the girls skied great tonight,” Bowman said. “We’re going to continue to push the sport.”
Bowman was the only competitor to manage two switch 720s and a 900 in her pass through the halfpipe.
Her gold-medal run Wednesday night also caught the eye of Northstar California skier David Wise, the defending Winter X and Olympic superpipe champion.
Wise watched the women’s competition from the finish venue at the base of the halfpipe.
“Maddie Bowman is a specimen of an amazing amount of talent,” said Wise, who won gold in the Olympic halfpipe as did Bowman. “She’s the only girl spinning both 9s (900s) currently and she had a solid switch 7 (720). That’s pretty unbeatable.”
Wise, known for his focused training regimen, said Bowman trains in a similar fashion.
“I definitely see that (focused training) in Maddie as well,” Wise said. “She’s having a good time, but she has a goal. She takes care of business.”