X Games: Tahoe’s Maddie Bowman takes 4th straight gold in ski superpipe
ASPEN, Colo. — Maddie Bowman, the queen of the superpipe, again.
The decorated Winter X skier from South Lake Tahoe won her fourth consecutive gold medal in the women’s ski superpipe Friday night at Buttermilk.
The 22-year-old didn’t just win the event.
She did so in historic fashion, becoming the first woman in competition to land a switch 900 in the superpipe.
That means she took off backward with 900 degrees of rotation, landing successfully.
“I … just learned it two nights ago,” the effervescent Bowman said of the new trick that dazzled the Aspen crowd Friday night.
Ayana Onozuka of Japan won the silver medal.
She posted a score of 85 on her third and final run to vault into second place, ahead of bronze medalist Annalisa Drew of Andover, Massachusetts (83).
Bowman’s winning score was 87.33, on her second run.
On her victory lap of a third run, Bowman again dropped the switch 900 on the spellbound crowd.
The win was special for Bowman because it came almost a year after she suffered a knee injury.
“Injuries are really hard,” Bowman said. “I’m just so happy. It feels so good.”
Asked why she went big in her third run after already clinching the gold medal, Bowman said, “I wanted to do it for the boys.”
Bowman’s streak of four in a row included wins in all weather conditions. Last year, a light snow fell during the women’s ski superpipe.
On Friday night, the weather was clear with moderate temperatures.
“I did a trick I’ve never done before, and that really helped me out,” Bowman said.
She said she was able to attempt the trick in competition because of the supportive environment of the Winter X Games, including plenty of practice.
“And I tried not to psyche myself out too much,” Bowman said.
Fourth place Friday night went to Cassie Sharp of British Columbia.
Janina Kuzma of New Zealand finished fifth.
Bowman, who collected her sixth Winter X Games medal, won the first gold medal in women’s ski halfpipe at the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014.
TAHOE’S JAMIE ANDERSON SECOND IN SKI SLOPESTYLE
On Friday morning, Spencer O’Brien, 27, of Canada took Winter X Games gold in the women’s snowboard slopestyle competition with a score of 91.00.
Jamie Anderson of South Lake Tahoe finished second with an 89, followed by 15-year-old Hailey Langland of San Clemente, Calif., 88 earned bronze.
One of snowboarding’s most decorated female athletes, Anderson has competed in 11 Winter X Games and won 11 medals.
Anderson said that her nerves, which were “out of control” Friday morning, were her greatest challenge during the slopestyle competition.
“I’m so happy for my girl Spencer,” Anderson said, adding that, “all the girls were just shredding today.”
“There’s not a lot of women out there doing this,” Anderson said. “It’s such a beautiful group of women…. All so graceful and powerful, it makes me proud to be up there.”
Erica Robbie of the Aspen Times, a sister newspaper of the Sierra Sun, contributed to this report.