Julia Marino secured the very first medal for the United States at the 2022 Winter Olympics with a surprising silver in women’s snowboarding slopestyle.
Marino's first run was a 30.61, but she earned the medal with a stellar second run, which earned a score of 87.68. It featured a perfect cab double underflip 900 off "The Matrix" and ended with a frontside double cork 1080 on the last hit.
"It’s honestly hard right now [to put into words], there’s just so much emotion," Marino said. "Right now it’s just pure excitement and happiness for everything, it was a great day – the weather was perfect, the course was perfect, the girls were riding well, couldn’t have asked for better finals."
The 24-year-old Marino from Westport, Connecticut, was bested only by New Zealand’s Zoi Sadowski-Synnott, who claimed the gold with a 92.88 on her final run. The 20-year-old landed a backside 1080 on her final jump, earning New Zealand its first-ever gold medal at the Winter Olympics.
Marino entered the Olympics relatively unknown outside the world of snowboarding. She was ranked ninth on the World Snowboarding Points List, and finished outside the top 10 in slopestyle at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang.
But after two-time defending gold medalist Jamie Anderson finished ninth, Marino's second run was enough to earn a spot for the United States on the podium, and kick off the medal recipients in 2022.