When Maddie Mastro drops into the Olympic halfpipe for the second time for Team USA, she’s clear on what she’s looking to prove in her competitive career.
“My goals are double corks, which are something that we haven’t really explored for women yet in halfpipe,” she said in a recent episode of the On Her Turf podcast. “But the men do it. And I think [my wanting to do doubles] is kind of helping with the whole progression.
“Then it’ll directly hopefully correlate to women’s progression and pushing our sport more and more into that and having double courts involved. But for me, that’s always been a really big thing: (I’m) trick orientated — I want to do the big tricks, and I want to do doubles in particular.”
The Southern California native, who turns 21 on Feb. 22, arrives at the Olympics for her second Winter Games as a two-time world championship medalist, winning bronze in 2018 and silver in 2021 behind champion and teammate Chloe Kim. Mastro and Kim grew up on the same mountain in Mammoth, and she credits the 2018 Olympic gold medalist with pushing her progression the last four years.
But Mastro also points to incessant comparisons to her male counterparts and her desire to be an example to young women riders as motivation as well.
“It was just frustrating for me to constantly be compared, like, ‘You’re not as good as the men,’ and I want to change that,” she explains.
“We’re trying, we’re working on it, we’re progressing, and we are going to be as good. And I just want to change that narrative completely, so that you can’t even bring that up — that men do harder tricks or whatever it is. It’s, ‘We do the same stuff.'”
In 2018, Mastro became the first woman to land a double crippler (two backflips), and in November 2021 she added a frontside double cork 1080 in training. It’s a trick that Kim has also landed in training, but no one has landed it in a women’s competition prior to the Olympics. The double cork 1440 is considered one of the hottest tricks for the men to land in competition, with two-time silver medalist Ayumu Hirano of Japan landing a triple cork (three flips) twice in competition this season, but he hasn’t won with it after being unable to link another trick to it.
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“We’re paving our path, we’re working, trying to catch up; we’re doing what we can, and we are getting there, so please give us credit,” she says, suggesting critics might want to drop into an icy 22-foot halfpipe themselves before offering any more “advice.”
“I don’t think I’d be where I am without a lot of the boys that I’ve watched, but at the same time, I’ve haven’t seen girls before me come and do that. So I think people need to look at it in a bigger picture.”
Mastro is also taking her own advice, using her experience from 2018 when she finished 12th to frame a new perspective ahead of her 2022 appearance.
“This time, I’m excited to go and snowboard for myself and just have fun,” she says. “Just go have fun and do tricks and land runs, rather than letting those big, scary, daunting expectations or pressures get to me.”
2022 Winter Olympics Schedule: Women’s Snowboard Halfpipe
|Event||Date / Start Time (U.S. Eastern Time)||Date / Start Time (China)|
|Women’s Snowboard Halfpipe (Qualification)||2/8/22 8:30 PM||2/9/22 9:30 AM|
|Women’s Snowboard Halfpipe (Final)||2/9/22 8:30 PM||2/10/22 9:30 AM|