Maëlle Ricker will head to her fourth Olympic Games at Sochi 2014 as the defending Olympic champion in ladies’ snowboard cross. She put her name in the history books at Vancouver 2010 as the first Canadian woman to ever win Olympic gold on home soil. Ricker finished first in both her quarterfinal and semifinal to advance to the Big Final where she gained a comfortable lead early and crossed the line for an easy victory.
Ricker had been motivated by what happened to her four years earlier at Turin 2006 when snowboard cross made its Olympic debut. Having advanced to the final, she suffered a hard crash which left her with a concussion as well as torn muscles in her back and neck. As a result, she has no memories from the time of the crash to the point at which she awoke in the helicopter en route to the hospital and had to be told of her fourth place finish.
Ricker has been a fixture on the international snowboard scene since making her World Cup debut in December 1996. For many years, she competed in both snowboard cross and halfpipe. Ricker’s Olympic debut was a fifth place finish in halfpipe at Nagano 1998. Four years later a knee injury prevented her from competing in Salt Lake City 2002.
In 2009-10 Ricker won the Crystal Globe as the overall FIS World Cup champion in snowboard. At the 2011 World Championships she broke her left hand and damaged nerves in her left shoulder, taking her out of competition until December 2011. She had another successful comeback, going on to win her first world title at the 2013 World Championships.
2010 Olympic Champion… 2013 FIS World Champion… 2009-10 Crystal Globe Winner (FIS Overall World Cup Champion Snowboard)… 2005 FIS World Bronze Medallist… 1999 and 2006 Winter X Games Champion…