Maddie Bowman wins Ski SuperPipe gold
With the memory of the late and beloved Sarah Burke warming the frozen night, 19-year-old Maddie Bowman one-upped her own silver-medal performance from last year to take gold in Women's Ski SuperPipe on Friday at X Games Aspen 2013.
Bowman's winning run came early in the night, on her first of three attempts down Buttermilk Mountain's 22-foot-deep pipe. The South Lake Tahoe, Calif., native landed a pair of 900s on her way to scoring a 91.33.
"This is definitely a moment I've been waiting for for a very long time," Bowman said. "It's always been a dream to come here and do this.
"It means a lot (to honor Burke). Sarah would have wanted us to ski as hard as we did."
Burke, a four-time Winter X Games gold medalist, died just before last year's event from injuries sustained while training in Utah.
Burke's former teammate, Roz Groenewoud, who won last year's event with the highest Women's SuperPipe score in X Games history (93.66), was a favorite to win again.
Groenewoud ended up with the silver medal, while fellow Canadian, 20-year-old Megan Gunning, finished with the bronze.
"This feels so good, because it's just been so hard coming back from my knee and a lot of other things to overcome," Gunning said. "Just some mental obstacles, like a new way of looking at life. I'm more spiritual now."
Groenewoud's climb to the second tier on the podium started from way down in sixth place after her lackluster first run.
"They did the tribute (to Burke) right before my run," she said. "My eyes teared up, my goggles fogged."
Groenewoud regained her composure, however, moving up the leaderboard into second with her next run.
Heading into her third and final run of the night, she was the last skier with a chance to beat Bowman.
With a "Sarah" sticker on her helmet, Groenewoud cleaned up her run out of the gate with some of the biggest airs (over 14 feet out of the pipe) and dialed rotations of the contest, but came up just shy, washing out the landing on her last hit.
"I always like to come away from events feeling as proud as possible, so even though I got second I know I didn't quite ski as well as I could've," she said.
X Games rookie Annalisa Drew of the U.S. couldn't quite land the first 1260 in a Women's Ski SuperPipe contest at X Games. Drew placed sixth.