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Maddie Bowman wins gold for U.S. in women's Olympic halfpipe skiing

Maddie Bowman of the United States competes in

Maddie Bowman of the United States competes in the Freestyle Skiing Ladies' Ski Halfpipe Qualification on day thirteen of the 2014 Winter Olympics at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park on February 20, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Cameron Spencer

KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia -- Maddie Bowman of the United States won the first-ever gold in women's Olympic halfpipe skiing.

The 20-year-old Bowman scored 89.00 in the finals on Thursday night to edge Marie Martinod of France. Ayana Onozuka of Japan earned the bronze.

Bowman strung together a series of spins and tricks to give the U.S. a sixth gold medal at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park. With her braid spinning in the chilly night air, Bowman's performance was just good enough.

Martinod retired in 2007 but returned to the sport in 2012 at the urging of late Canadian freestyle skiing icon Sarah Burke.

Burke, a leading advocate to have women's halfpipe skiing added to the Olympic program, died after a training accident in 2012.

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