PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) — For a woman with an Olympic gold medal sitting at home, Maddie Bowman sure took her share of grief over the past four years.
She did tougher tricks than anyone — thus, the halfpipe gold medal — but in pockets of the sometimes (nit)picky world of freeskiing, she wasn’t considered all that great a champion.
The main complaint: She lacked style.
Style might be best defined as the cool grabs of the snowboards and skis, and the creative lines and tricks the athletes perform on the rails of the slopestyle course. A deft touch in those areas can turn a high-flying acrobat show into a true work of art.
“My mom doesn’t (care) about my grabs,” Bowman said, a nod to the fact that the casual viewer won’t notice much of what the aficionado considers mandatory. “But to our sport, and as a person of this sport, it’s super important.”
Bowman concedes the criticism, some of it spelled out starkly in a 2015 piece , hurt her.