Free ski champ Maddie Bowman is Sochi-bound
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BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. — El Dorado County’s Maddie Bowman has secured a spot on the USA Olympic Ski Team after winning Sunday’s Sprint Grand Prix Halfpipe Freeski event in Breckenridge, Colo.
The South Lake Tahoe resident braved snowy conditions to edge Japan’s Ayana Onozuka. Bowman tallied 84 points in the third of five qualifying events and has now won two of the first three in landing her automatic spot on the US Ski Team at next month’s Olympic games in Sochi, Russia.
“I am just happy that I put down my run,” said Bowman to USA Today. “I wish everyone had better conditions and everything so we could really see the full potential of everyone. I’m definitely stoked and I don’t think it’s hit me yet.”
Bowman’s timing couldn’t be better. This Olympics will be the first for her sport for both men and women free skiers. Free skiing encompasses half-pipe, slopestyle and ski cross.
Appropriately, Bowman is the first female free skier to qualify, doing so just two days after turning the age of 20.
Ski jumping is not new to the Olympic menu but Sochi will be the first time women will be allowed to compete, putting Bowman in, yet, another ground-breaking scenario, in front of millions of viewers world-wide.
Despite her young age, Bowman’s list of accomplishments continues to grow. Among her awards are World Cup titles; she’s the reigning Winter X Games champ; and she’s coming off a victory last month on the Dew Tour. Some achievements came while Bowman was at South Tahoe High.
Family lineage set her up. Dad Bill is a former professional ski racer and mother, Sue-Perpall-Bowman, raced as well and is a current ski coach at El Dorado, her alma mater.
Maddie was introduced to the slopes at Sierra-at-Tahoe on her second birthday. Following in family footsteps, she rose up the ranks as a talented racer and competed three years for her high school’s race team before a change of heart led her to freestyle.
While at South Tahoe High, Maddie captained her soccer team to back-to-back state championships. She also enjoys wakeboarding, hiking/backpacking and mountain biking.
Maddy has made the podium in every major free ski event she’s entered and is a favorite to medal at Sochi.