January 20, 2020 / 7:23 PM / 6 months ago

Freestyle skiing: Former Olympic halfpipe champion Bowman calls time on career

FILE PHOTO: Freestyle Skiing - Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics - Women's Ski Halfpipe Finals - Phoenix Snow Park - Pyeongchang, South Korea - February 20, 2018 - Maddie Bowman of the U.S. competes. REUTERS/Issei Kato

(Reuters) - American Maddie Bowman, who won the women’s halfpipe freestyle skiing debut at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, announced her retirement from competition on Monday, saying she had given everything she could to advance the sport.

The 26-year-old Bowman, who became one of the most decorated athletes in her sport, said she now intended to pursue her bachelor’s degree in biology with the goal of becoming a high school science teacher.

“I have decided to step away from halfpipe skiing for a simple reason,” Bowman said in a U.S. Ski & Snowboard media release. “I have given everything I have to progress the sport and now I know the women after me will do an amazing job.”

Bowman enjoyed a fairytale season when, in February 2014, she added the Olympic title to the X Games gold she had won the previous month.

On the World Cup circuit, Bowman earned nine podiums, five of which were victories. At X Games, Bowman collected nine medals, including five golds.

Throughout her career Bowman focused on pushing the sport, including landing back-to-back 900s and the switch 900 at the highest level of competition.

“She led us to where we are now with her constant progression of technical tricks years ahead of the rest of the game,” said American Brita Sigourney, who won halfpipe bronze at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics.

“She was a fierce competitor and always fun to watch, even when she was beating me at every contest and dominating the scene for so many years in a row.”

Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Clare Fallon

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