Maggie Voisin’s first trip to the Olympics didn’t play out quite the way she likely envisioned it.
But like many athletes, her experience of walking into the Opening Ceremony in Sochi was an unforgettable moment – in spite of the injury that had happened earlier that day.
“I kind of held off telling my parents that I broke my ankle,” Voisin said. “Before you go into Opening Ceremonies you’re walking around for, like, two hours before you get onto the stage. So I ditched my crutches, which is probably not a good idea, and I walked into Opening Ceremonies on a broken ankle. But I remember the emotion from the day. We came out from the floor and it was the most unreal feeling in the world.”
Voisin stuck around in Sochi even though she was unable to compete. Traversing around on crutches, she went to bobsled events and hockey games. As a 15-year-old, she was especially thrilled to discover a game room in the Olympic Village.
“I didn’t know if I was going to get another opportunity,” she said. “[I] just kind of [wanted to] be grateful that I was there and I could experience it. I mean, I was 15 years old. Not a lot of people can say they went to the Olympics at 15. So I stayed there and just kind of took in the whole experience.”
Women’s freeskiing has progressed immensely in recent years, and it’s young skiers like Voisin who are leading the charge. So it’s no surprise that she ended up back at the Olympics this year.
The athlete who has dominated women’s slopestyle in recent years is Kelly Sildaru, a 15-year old from Estonia. But she’s sidelined with a knee injury this season, which has left the field wide open for the Olympics.
Here’s a look at Voisin and a few of the other skiers who will be contending for slopestyle gold in PyeongChang.
Country: USA | Age: 19
This is Voisin’s second trip to the Olympics, but it will be her first time competing. She’ll be coming in with plenty of momentum after striking gold at X Games last month for the first time in her career. Voisin has multiple variations of the 900 in her arsenal and has been using them in her contest runs this season.
Country: Norway | Age: 20
Killi has won several major contests over the past 12 months. A few weeks ago at X Games, she was attempting a switch double cork 1080 – an extremely progressive trick in which she takes off backwards, flips twice while spinning three full rotations, then lands backwards.
Country: France | Age: 16
Ledux will be the second-youngest athlete in the field for women’s slopestyle. (Only Sweden’s Jennie-Lee Buirmansson, 15, is younger.) She’s the cousin of Kevin Rolland, the 2014 Olympic bronze medalist in freeski halfpipe, and landed her first double cork 1080 in competition a few weeks ago at X Games. She won silver at X Games and gold at the world championships in 2017.
Country: Switzerland | Age: 27
Hoefflin will be the second-oldest skier in the field, but she’s a relative newbie to the freeskiing scene. She’s also one of this year’s most improbable Olympians. Although Hoefflin grew up skiing, she wasn’t into the freeskiing scene until she got to college, and even then, she didn’t seriously consider it to be something she could do for a living. But when she was unable to get into medical school, Hoefflin decided to do a ski season in the French Alps. Next thing you know, she’s progressing with her tricks and is on the Swiss ski team. Hoefflin is one of the few women who have landed a double cork.
Country: USA | Age: 25 (as of Feb. 17)
The 2014 Olympic silver medalist will hope to celebrate her 25th birthday with another slopestyle medal. This will be the first of two Olympic competitions for Logan. She’ll turn around and compete in women’s halfpipe qualifying two days later. Logan is the only female skier competing in both slopestyle and halfpipe this year.
How to Watch
NBCOlympics.com will be streaming every round of every competition live online. Links to each stream are below.
Women’s Qualifying: Friday, Feb. 16, 8:00 p.m. ET
Women’s Final: Friday, Feb. 16, 11:00 p.m. ET