Maddie Mastro snowboards in in the halfpipe on Dec. 12, 2019 in Copper Mountain, Colorado.
Snowboarder Maddie Mastro’s signature trick in the halfpipe is the double crippler, and when she lands it, good things usually follow.
That was the case on Friday at the U.S. Grand Prix at Mammoth Mountain, California, where Mastro saw the lead slip away at the last minute but still held on for a second-place finish.
In the men’s competition, Taylor Gold also put down a run strong enough for second place and his second world cup podium of the season.
Mastro, a 2018 Olympian, waited until the last trick of her second run to unleash the inverted, 540-degree spin trick. She had height and a soft, clean landing and the result was a score of 94.00 that lifted her from third to first place.
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It wasn’t until one of the last runs of the competition that China’s Xuetong Cai scored a 94.80 with a strong technical run and bump Mastro down a spot. China’s Jiayu Liu finished third with a score of 91.20.
It was a nice bit of redemption for Mastro, however, after last weekend at the X Games. Mastro was the first woman to ever land the double crippler, and when she did it at the US Open last season, she beat Olympic and world champion Chloe Kim. With Kim taking this season off to focus on her freshman year at Princeton, Mastro was widely expected to win her first X Games gold medal in the superpipe.
Instead, Mastro struggled to land the move, going for it early in all three runs but falling twice and sitting back once. She finished in eighth place.
She was all smiles after her second run on Friday, however.
“I’ve worked really hard this past season and it’s had a lot of ups and downs, so it’s just such a nice relief to do what I want and stomp it as well, so I couldn’t be happier,” she told NBC Sports.
Gold, meanwhile, earned his second world cup podium finish of the season. The 2014 Olympian was third in Laax, Switzerland, earlier this month for his first podium appearance in a world cup event since 2015.
His first run on Friday scored the highest at 89.20. Looking to top Japan’s Yuto Totsuka’s leading score of 93.60, Gold fell on his second run but had one last chance to try. He was in the midst of a strong run, landing the front side 1260 to double heave ho sequence that stymied him earlier, but washed out on a 1080 attempt halfway down the pipe.
Totsuka beat his own top score on the next run to ensure first while Gold’s scored held up for second and Japan’s Ruka Hirano was third with a score of 87.80.
Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic & Paralympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.