KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia — With her skis and ski poles pointed every which direction, Maddie Bowman looked like a helicopter as she spun through the air high above the halfpipe. She couldn’t have gotten much higher than she did Thursday, flying to the top step of the medal podium.
Bowman, 20, won gold in the women’s halfpipe event with a dominating performance. She posted the top two scores of the finals round, scoring an 85.80 on her first run and topping it with an 89.0 on the second.
France’s Marie Martinod won silver and Japan’s Ayana Onozuka took bronze.
These Sochi Games marked the debut of the ski halfpipe. American David Wise won gold in the men’s event on Tuesday.
Bowman, who has won gold at the past two Winter X-Games, set a high bar with her first run in the finals, throwing back-to-back 900s, and posted a score of 85.80, which put her in first place. She held the lead at the event’s midpoint, barely ahead of Martinod, who had the top score in the qualifying round and posted an 84.80 on her first run of the finals. Martinod improved her high score to an 85.40 on her second run, still well behind Bowman.
Three other Americans reached the finals but failed to find the podium. Brita Sigourney, who posted the second-highest score in the qualifying round, finished in sixth place with a high score of 76.0. Sigourney, 24, appeared to be strong in the pipe but suffered a bad crash late in the run. Medical personnel ran out to treat her — as did Bowman, her teammate — but she was able to ski off on her own and returned for her second run.
Many skiers struggled to stay upright in the finals. American Angeli VanLaanen, 28, took a bad tumble on her first run in the finals. She scored a 13.80 and appeared to be bleeding following a rough crash. She took her second run with a bandage on her nose but one bad landing spoiled her run and resulted in a score of 29.60, an 11th place Olympic finish.
Annalisa Drew, 20, went big and took a bad tumble on her second run. Her best mark of the finals was a 66.40, good for ninth place.