Wrightwood Native Heading to 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games
KVCR's Jonathan Linden spoke with Wrightwood native and halfpipe snowboarder Maddie Mastro who's headed to the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic games.
Jonathan Linden: For 91.9 KVCR news, I'm Jonathan Linden. I'm joined now by Olympic halfpipe snowboarder Maddie Mastro who's heading to the 2022 Beijing Olympics, which starts on Feb. 4. To start off Maddie, what are you looking forward to most heading into the games?
Maddie Mastro: So I'm excited to head over to China in the next few weeks here. I mean, we spend four years preparing and prepping for this contest. So I'm excited to just go and snowboard and do my thing and have some fun when I'm there and take in the whole experience and just enjoy myself.
Jonathan Linden: So you participated in the 2018 PyeongChang Games, how is this one in Beijing going to be different for you?
Maddie Mastro: This time, I have a little bit of experience under my belt; I was fortunate enough to go in 2018. I learned a lot from that and that experience and how I handled it, and all that that comes with the Olympics. It's a much different contest than what we're used to. And so, I learned a lot. And this time, I think I'm going to go into this Olympics with a better understanding of how to handle myself and how to handle the pressures and the expectations that come with the Olympics.
Jonathan Linden: So you kind of alluded to this; you have participated in World Championships, you just won a silver at the FIS World Championship in 2021. How does that event compare to being on the Olympic stage?
Maddie Mastro: I mean, it's similar because we do compete with a pretty similar field throughout the season that goes to the Olympics. But it's a much different scale. It's still a big contest, but the Olympics, there's just more people-watching, there's more media, there's more attention on it. There's more expectations and pressures compared to just a world championship that happens every two years compared to the Olympics every four. And so they're just different in more of like exterior pressures more so than interior for us. I just try to treat each contest the same as each other to act each other, but it's the exterior pressures that really differentiate it too. The Olympics is a huge platform.
Jonathan Linden: And will your family be able to attend Beijing, or (are) COVID restrictions limiting that?
Maddie Mastro: COVID restrictions (are) limited to that there's no foreign spectators this time around, unfortunately. But we will have spectators from China there, that will be exciting to have fans, from my knowledge at least. But COVID is restricting foreign spectators to come.
Jonathan Linden: And just to kind of go more into your personal background. Growing up in Wrightwood, what got you into snowboarding and especially the halfpipe?
Maddie Mastro: The mountain was five minutes down the road. So when it snowed, it was so convenient for us to just head over there after school and ride with the night riding. And it was just kind of what our childhood was in the wintertime. (If it's a) snow days, you go snowboarding, you head to the mountains, and you go hang out with your friends, and you ride all day. And then, even if you couldn't make it to the mountain, you got to go build little jumps in your front yard or up the street somewhere. And it really just helped build my passion and love for snowboarding and having those like strong childhood experiences of having a mountain in my backyard.
Jonathan Linden: And who do you credit a lot of your success to?
Maddie Mastro: That would be a long list. I'm very fortunate to have an amazing group of support around me, from my parents, my family, to my coaches, my sponsors; they've all been so supportive of me from my parents as obviously as young as I could be. But same with my coach and my sponsors. They've supported me through everything. And everyone's played a very important part of my career, and I wouldn't be here without each and every one of them. So I think it's more of a collective group that I credit to my success in my career thus far.
Jonathan Linden: Is there anything else you would like to share with listeners based out here in the Inland Empire?
Maddie Mastro: Just to go, don't be afraid to go try snowboarding, strap on a board, get a rental and go give it a try. It's really something that's super fun. It might be hard at first, but you'll get the hang of it and it will be 100% worth it.
Jonathan Linden: Well, Maddie, thank you so much for taking some time to speak with me. Best of luck in Beijing.
Maddie Mastro: No problem, thank you so much for having me; I appreciate it.