athletes

Gold medal skier Maddie Bowman on tribute to Sarah Burke: We tried to 'make her proud'

Feb. 21, 2014 at 8:46 AM ET

Maddie Bowman
TODAY
Gold medalist Maddie Bowman on TODAY Friday.

The youngest American to win gold in Sochi was still reeling from her big night on Friday. "I feel incredible, this seems like a dream to me," she told TODAY. "Obviously I cannot believe what happened last night."

Bowman, 20, who won the first gold medal in women's Olympic halfpipe skiing, says she hopes her performance and the achievements of the other skiers in the event won some fans for the sport.

Video: Why Maddie Bowman is halfpipe's golden girl

"I'm hoping that people loved what happened. I think everyone went out there and showed them that we love our sport and that they should also love it," she said, while also acknowledging the risks of halfpipe. 

"We love to scare ourselves," she said, of the stunts the skiers pull off during the sport. "It's so much fun. I couldn't pick a more exciting thing to do."

Skiers paid tribute to the late Sarah Burke on the ice Thursday.
NBC Olympics
Skiers paid tribute to the late Sarah Burke on the ice Thursday.

Bowman also talked about the athletes' tribute on the ice to Sarah Burke, the skier who passed away in 2012 after an accident during training. Burke's parents were in Sochi on Thursday to watch Bowman take the gold.

"I grew up looking up to Sarah," Bowman said. "As a young skier and as a young girl, she was who you wanted to be. I think we tried to go out there and make her proud."

Watch the interview here.

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