Congratulations to Maddie Bowman of South Lake Tahoe winning the first ever Women's Ski Halfpipe at Sochi for the US. Bowman laid down two technically challenging runs including back-to-back 900s and a switch 720 at Rosa Khutor's Extreme Park. Maddie, age 20, grew up ski racing, but switched over to free skiing and halfpipe as a young teen saying it was more fun and less technical than alpine gate chasing.
Maddie dedicated her Gold medal to Sarah Burke, the free skier who died January 2012 from a halfpipe training accident in Park City. Burke was a beloved leader and mentor in women's halfpipe skiing, she lobbied the IOC to include this event in Olympic competition. Burke's mother and husband were at Sochi to watch the first ever Winter Games Ski Halfpipe and to witness the Sochi Halfpipe course workers pay tribute to Burke by skiing a heart shaped formation, Sarah's symbol, at the finals in her memory.
David Wise, picture here with Maddie Bownman, won the Men's Skiing Halfpipe Gold for the US, and Joss Christensen, Gus Kenworthy and Nick Goepper swept the podium in Men's Ski Slopestyle, while Devin Logan won Silver in Women's Ski Slopestyle at Sochi.
Freestyle skiing and snowboarding now account for 12 of the 25 Olympic medals - putting Americans in the lead for now, with US alpine racing contributing four more to the medal count with Ted Ligety's Gold in GS, Andrew Weibrecht's Silver, Bode Miller and Julia Mancuso's Bronze. Go Team USA.