South Lake Tahoe Olympic champion Maddie Bowman announces retirement from competitive skiing |

South Lake Tahoe Olympic champion Maddie Bowman announces retirement from competitive skiing

Special to the Sierra Sun
FILE — Maddie Bowman of South Lake Tahoe won gold in the first-ever Olympic women's ski halfpipe competition.
Sarah Brunson / U.S. Ski Team |

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — A beloved South Lake Tahoe Olympic champion has retired from competitive skiing, ending one of the most decorated careers in the sport.

Maddie Bowman, the first woman to win an Olympic gold medal in halfpipe skiing, said Monday that she is retiring from competition. 

“I have decided to step away from halfpipe skiing for a simple reason,” Bowman said in a statement released by U.S. Ski & Snowboard. “I have given everything I have to progress the sport and now I know the women after me will do an amazing job.”

While she won’t be competing anymore, Bowman said in the release she will continue skiing, including a trip later this year to Chamonix, France, where she will “explore the backcountry and the big mountain side of things.”

A South Shore native, Bowman got her start on skis at age 2 and clinched her spot in Olympic history when she won the halfpipe gold medal in 2014 at the Winter Games in Sochi, Russia where the event made its debut. Bowman, at 20 years old, set the high mark on the first run of the final, landing two 900s and two 720s. She outdid herself on the second run to claim the top two scores of the competition.

“I can’t believe it just happened,” she said afterward. “I felt every emotion, and I’m so happy.”

That she would thrive on the world stage was hardly a surprise to those who watched her win the previous two superpipe gold medals at the X Games.

Bowman stayed among the sport’s elite, winning her ninth X Games medal (and fifth gold) in 2018, as well as earning a repeat trip to the Olympic Winter Games that year. Her experience in PyeongChang wasn’t as memorable, though, as she was unable to complete any of her three runs in the final.

“I just decided to go for it, and I wasn’t going to hold back,” she told reporters. “And I’m happy with how I skied. I’m really proud of these ladies out here today. I didn’t want to put down a safety run, so I went for it.”

One year later, Bowman finished sixth at the world championships in Utah, and she followed that with one more world cup event in March.

In addition to the Olympics and X Games, Bowman has thrived on other skiing circuits and developed a reputation for her technical ability, which led to her landing back-to-back 900s and the switch 900 in competition.

Bowman, who turned 26 earlier this month, initially planned to compete this season and was named to the 2019-20 U.S. Freeski Team in November. 

In addition to pursuing more backcountry skiing opportunities, Bowman is working toward her bachelor’s degree in biology at Sierra Nevada College and aims to become a high school science teacher.

Article submitted by Chrös McDougall who has covered the Olympic and Paralympic movements for since 2009.

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