Julia Marino Wins the First Medal for the United States, While Russia’s Skaters Take the Lead in the Team Event

Julia Marino is an American snowboarder who competes in the Slopestyle and Big Air disciplines. As a rookie, at the 2017 Buttermilk Mountain X Games in Aspen, she won gold in Slopestyle and a bronze in Big Air, the first female snowboard athlete to win two medals at the same Games in 17 years.

Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics

The United States is officially on the Beijing Medal table and came from an unlikely hero. It is one of 16 countries to win a medal, with Norway, Slovenia, Italy, Canada, and the Russian Olympic Committee all having two medals to their name.

The 24-year-old Julia Marino from Westport, Conn., scored 87.68 on her second run. She nearly held on to win gold but on the final run of the day, gold medal favorite Zoi Sadowski Synnott of New Zealand bested her with a score of 92.88.

Two-time gold medalist and fellow American Jamie Anderson entered the final round in fourth place but finished ninth. This is the second straight Winter Olympics that the U.S. was excluded from Day 1 on the podium.

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At the PyeongChang 2018 Games, the United States did not win any medals on the first day of competition. On Day 2, American sled Chris Mazder won the silver medal, the first in Team USA history in this event, and snowboarder Red Gerard won gold in the men’s slopestyle.

At the 2014 Sochi Olympics, American skier Hannah Kearney won gold in the freestyle event on the first day she received medals. American snowboarder Sage Kotsenburg is followed by a gold medal in men’s slopestyle, the first of these Games.

The United States is currently second all-time in overall medals and gold medals at the Winter Olympics with 305 and 105 respectively. Norway leads them comfortably in both categories. At the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang, the United States finished fourth overall behind Norway, Germany, and Canada, in that order.

Julia Marino
Julia Marino

Led by a 15-year-old, the Russian Team Surpasses the U.S. In Figure Skating

As Kamila Valieva glided across the ice, a rain of camera shutters echoed through the Olympic skating arena. She was the skater to watch on the second day of the team event and provided the performance for many people she came to see.

Valieva, 15, easily won Sunday’s short program, landing softly on each of her jumps as if trying not to wake a sleeping child. And floating through the program without showing even a hint of effort. She received seven perfect marks for art (and none of them came from a Russian judge).

Valeeva’s score of 90.18 passed her nearest challenger, Japan’s Wakaba Higuchi, who scored 74.73. Her final score was just below her world record for the short program, 90.45, which she set last month at the European Championships.

Most important for her Russian team, however, it was that her impressive performance lifted the Russian team above the United States and into the top spot in team standings “I’m happy that I was able to bring the maximum score to my team,” Valieva said through a Russian translator.

“I did everything I could have done today.” Clutching a cuddly stuffed rabbit, she added, “I felt very nervous, but also calm.” After the women’s short program, only five of the ten teams qualified for the final phase of the competition.

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The Russian team remained in the lead after the end of the men’s free skate on Sunday afternoon, with the final day of competition scheduled for Monday. The United States is in second place and Japan in third.

With the standings and points as they currently stand, teams from Russia and the United States are already assured of medals. However, Americans ended the day complaining about what might have been.

The disappointing performances of Karen Chen and Vincent Zhou, two-time Olympians who admitted to being nervous before hitting the ice on Sunday, seriously damaged the Americans’ chances of winning the gold medal.

Team USA has won bronze in the team event at the past two Winter Games. On Sunday, Chen finished fifth in the short program after falling on a triple jump and landing another jump. I’m definitely disappointed about the loop because I should have hit it and I know I can hit it,” Chen said. “If I had a chance to go out there and do it again, I know I can.” 

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