As a teenager, I spent most of my time sleeping and updating my Tumblr blog — but that's not the case for Maddie Mastro, a snowboarder who competed for Team USA during the 2018 Olympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea. Not only is Mastro ridiculously hard-working, but she's also shown incredible maturity. After coming in 12th place during the women's snowboarding halfpipe final on Feb. 12, Mastro took to Instagram to congratulate the snowboarders who medaled. (Her teammate Chloe Kim won the gold medal, while another American athlete, Arielle Gold, took bronze.) "The sun will rise again and I’ll try again," she wrote. "So many different emotions from today, and sadly it didn’t go the way I wanted. And that’s okay." This graceful response is a reminder that Maddie Mastro is a role model for people of all ages even though she's not old quite yet enough to buy a lottery ticket.
"This is my first Olympics, I want to take the entire experience in and enjoy all aspects, meeting other athletes from around the world, cheering on my teammates," the 17-year-old told Bustle a few days ahead of her PyeongChang run. She says she's been snowboarding for 11 years, starting when she was only six years old (after casually learning to ski at the age of two). Once she made the U.S. pro women's halfpipe team in 2016, Mastro realized her snowboarding hobby could become something more. "I always knew snowboarding was a passion for me that I wanted to pursue as far as it would take me," she says.
Still, Mastro hasn't ruled out other potential career paths while she's navigating her elite sporting career. "For now, I'm focused on snowboarding, but I think at some point in the future I will be able to start taking college classes," she tells Bustle. Thankfully, she doesn't have to make any big decisions about her future right now. She's currently focused on something much more pressing — her 18th birthday, which she'll celebrate in PyeongChang on Feb. 22. "I'll probably go out with friends for Korean barbecue," she says.
Like most Olympic athletes, Mastro has an intense training schedule, not to mention her particular pre-competition rituals. "I try to keep to a routine the day of an event," she says. If you're interested in copying her pre-race rituals, Mastro recommends "eating the right foods" and "staying hydrated" during workouts. "For instance, I typically eat a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast and I always drink BODYARMOR LYTE throughout the day." (Mastro is an athlete partner of the sports drink brand.)
You'd think Mastro would be ultra-competitive, which would make sense — she is, after all, only one of the best snowboarders in the world — but she says her priority during the games is enjoying herself. After all, she is still a teenager — when she's not snowboarding, she's shopping at thrift stores, hanging out with friends or playing the ukulele, she says. "And of course spending time with my three dogs," she adds.
But most of all, her attitude exemplifies the idea that she's in it for the fun of it all. "I think having fun and enjoying what I'm doing is really important. If I'm not enjoying it, I shouldn't be doing it," she says.
Even though Mastro didn't medal during these games, she'll only be 21 during the 2022 Olympic Games in Beijing. Saying that she has a bright future ahead of her feels like a huge understatement. From the elegant way she handled an unanticipated performance during this year's games to her super-chill demeanor about competing, she is clearly on her way to even bigger things.