Madeline Lochte-Bono raced as fast as she could. After she crossed the finish line, she didn’t know if it was enough. Nobody did.
It came down to a photo finish for the Durango teenager in her final heat in women’s snowboard cross at the 2020 Youth Olympics in Lausanne, Switzerland. She was one of three girls in her final heat vying for a spot in top eight to reach the medal race. Despite laying out and stretching her board as far as she could, Lochte-Bono came up short in the photo finish.
She officially finished 11th out of 27 competitors. Austria’s Josie Baff was the winner ahead of Margaux Herpin of France and bronze medalist Anouk Doerig of Switzerland.
“Even though I came in third during that heat, that race was one of the best and most exciting heats I have ever raced,” Lochte-Bono said in a message to The Durango Herald. “All four of us were fighting to get into first place throughout the whole course. Coming into the finish line, we were lined up trying to cross the finish line first. We thrust our board in front of us trying to reach for the finish line. No one knew who won, so we had to wait for a video replay to figure out placements.”
Lochte-Bono, 17, would finish as the top-American woman in the event, also known as boardercross, that is a race down a technical course with jumps, drops, banked turns and more technical features. She raced in five heats before she was eliminated from medal contention. Acy Craig of Vermont placed 14th.
“The Youth Olympics was an amazing experience,” Lochte-Bono said. “There were athletes from almost all the countries. The course was well built and had a technical start. At the bottom of the course was a massive TV broadcasting live results to a huge audience.
“Going into the competition, I knew it was going to be tough because there were only the top girls from each country competing.”
Because she was the top American, Lochte-Bono was selected to race in the team mixed relay event. She teamed up with American Theodore McLemore as well as Slovakia’s Jakub Valek and Kayla Anna Lozakova. That team finished 14th overall. Switzerland finished first ahead of Russia and Germany.
Though the racers from Slovakia were new to the sport, Lochte-Bono enjoyed the chance to interact with the athletes as well as her opportunity to meet many more in the athlete village.
“All the athletes competing at the Youth Olympics stayed in one village, so I got to hear a ton of languages and meet some amazing people,” Lochte-Bono said.
Locthe-Bono, daughter of Ryan Bono and Amy Lochte, participated in Thursday’s closing ceremonies. Now, she will take the memories gained and the thrilling competition as she prepares for North American Cup racing the rest of the season. She continues to live and train full time in Silverthorne. Lochte-Bono competes against athletes of every age in the NorAm Cup circuit, and her goal is to achieve her first podium finish this season.