Defending gold medalist Maddie Bowman finishes 11th in ski halfpipe |

Defending gold medalist Maddie Bowman finishes 11th in ski halfpipe

Ed Stoner
Maddie Bowman, of the United States, crashes during the women's halfpipe final at Phoenix Snow Park at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

BONGPYEONG, South Korea — South Lake Tahoe’s Maddie Bowman was unable to defend her Olympic gold medal in the ski halfpipe competition Tuesday, falling on her final hit in each of her three runs. She finished 11th.

Teammate Brita Sigourney won bronze while Annalisa Drew, another American skier, finished just off the podium in fourth.

Bowman, 24, was unable to land the final 900 in each run.

“I didn’t want to put down a safety run, so I went for it,” she said. “I sat back twice and then I frickin’ sent her and over-rotated a little bit.”

Her helmet smashed into pieces after the last fall. She lay in the halfpipe for several minutes as medical staff rushed to attend to her. She later said she was OK.

“Hop off your toes,” she said she was thinking going into her final run. “It’s OK when it comes down to the last run. I like that pressure. I like how it feels. No matter what, you’re going to get emotional after it.”

In the finish area after the race, Bowman did get emotional as she talked about how proud she was of her good friend and teammate, Sigourney, who won her first Olympic medal.

“I’m so excited for Brita,” Bowman said. “She’s worked so hard for this and has wanted it so bad. I’ve watched her through the ups and downs and it’s just awesome to watch her walk away with a medal.”

Sigourney said she emphasized her amplitude — her ability to boost out of the pipe — in her runs.

“I think I wanted it more this time,” she said. “At my first Olympics i didn’t know what to expect and was so happy to be there, and this time I really wanted it. To see me pull it off, I’m still in shock. I didn’t know i could do that.

Cassie Sharpe, of Canada, won gold, while Marie Martinod, of France, took the silver.

“Honestly, it hasn’t quite sunk in that I’m an Olympic champions yet,” Sharpe said. “It’s a pretty crazy feeling. I have to go hug my family and really experience the love and be part of that.”