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Maëlle Ricker

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 1
Silver 0
Bronze 0
Total 1
TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
SexFemale
Full nameMaëlle Danica•Ricker
Used nameMaëlle•Ricker
Nick/petnamesMighty-mouse
Born2 December 1978 in North Vancouver, British Columbia (CAN)
Measurements169 cm / 63 kg
AffiliationsWhistler Blackcomb, Whistler (CAN)
NOC Canada

Biography

Prior to making her Olympic début at the 1998 Olympic Winter Games in Nagano, Maëlle Ricker (pronounced MY-ell) was the 1997 FIS Canadian and ISF World Junior half-pipe champion and 1996 bronze medalist. She competed at the 1997 FIS World Championships in Italy, finishing fourth in the snowboard cross and 11th in the half-pipe, and was 13th in the half-pipe at the ISF World Championships. Ricker finished her first Olympics in fifth in the halfpipe at Nagano, then won her first World Cup gold in a snowboard cross event later that year.

In her prime, Ricker missed the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City with a knee injury. In her third Olympic Winter Games in 2006, Ricker finished 23rd in the half-pipe, and then in the snowboard cross final (a serious medal contender after recording the fastest qualifying time), she crashed so hard she was flown off the mountain and hospitalized with a concussion and torn neck muscles, not even remembering she had finished fourth. She recalled those results as: “seeing the love of your life on the subway but never getting to meet them.” Doubts were raised if Ricker would ever be the same again after her concussion, but her will to succeed pushed her to continue competing even after her sixth, seventh and eighth knee operations.

Ricker arrived at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games as the overall leader in the 2009–10 FIS Snowboard World Cup, having skipped the Winter X Games to focus on Vancouver 2010. She easily won her snowboard cross quarter-final and then the semi-final when American Lindsey Jacobellis was disqualified for missing a gate. In the Olympic snowboard cross final, Ricker held on to the lead that her great start gave her and won the Olympic title to become the first Canadian woman to win an Olympic gold medal on home soil – just minutes from her actual home in North Vancouver.

Ricker’s success continued after her 2010 Olympic title finishing second in the World Cup snowboard cross standings. At the 2011 World Championships, she crashed out of the snowboard cross final against long-time nemesis Jacobellis, finishing fourth. Ricker had a few snowboard podium finishes in the 2011-12 World Cup and then captured another gold on home soil at the 2013 World Championships in Québec, Canada – the only major title that had alluded her as a senior.

Nineteen days before the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games snowboard start, Ricker fractured her left forearm during a training session in Aspen, Colorado and had to undergo surgery, arriving in Sochi with 16 screws and two plates in her arm and still in a cast. She amazingly finished fourth in qualifying, but would go on to crash in her first heat, well before the medal rounds, leaving her in 21st, ending her Olympic snowboarding career.

A four-time Olympian in a pair of disciplines, Ricker retired in 2015 from a competitive snowboarding career that spanned more than two decades, as an Olympic champion, World champion, two-time Winter X Games champion and twice winning Crystal Globes as the overall World Cup snowboard cross champion.

Ricker was introduced to the sport by her brother Jorli who was also a member of the national snowboard team. Nicknamed “Mighty-mouse”, Ricker graduated from Sentinel Secondary School in West Vancouver, British Columbia. Her father was a geologist and her mother was a biology teacher at Capilano College.

Results

Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1998 Winter Olympics Snowboarding (Skiing) CAN Maëlle Ricker
Halfpipe, Women (Olympic) 5
2006 Winter Olympics Snowboarding (Skiing) CAN Maëlle Ricker
Halfpipe, Women (Olympic) 23
Boardercross, Women (Olympic) 4
2010 Winter Olympics Snowboarding (Skiing) CAN Maëlle Ricker
Boardercross, Women (Olympic) 1 Gold
2014 Winter Olympics Snowboarding (Skiing) CAN Maëlle Ricker
Boardercross, Women (Olympic) 21

Special Notes