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U.S. wins first medal of 2022 Olympics with snowboarder Julia Marino’s slopestyle silver

Snowboarder Julia Marino netted the United States its first medal of the 2022 Beijing Olympics after earning the silver in women’s slopestyle snowboarding Sunday.

Event favorite Zoi Sadowski-Synnott of New Zealand took the gold — the country’s first in a winter Olympics — with a score of 92.88 on her final run.

Sadowski-Synnott, 20, beat out two-time Olympic gold medalist Jamie Anderson for gold at the X Games last month in Aspen, Colorado.

Australian Tess Coady, 21, took bronze in her Olympic debut.

Marino, 24, placed sixth in qualifying for the final, but stunned with her second run, which scored her an 87.68, enough to cement her standing on the podium after a fall in her third run.

Marino, of Westport, Connecticut, has been a mainstay in the sport without much Olympic validation until Sunday. She won gold at the 2017 X Games slopestyle event in Aspen, Colorado, beating Anderson, who was a favorite for the Americans in Sunday’s event.

Marino entered the sport with great promise, having completed the first double (a ‘Cab’ double under-flip) in women’s slopestyle competition — at age 18.

She has scored X Games snowboarding medals six other times. But her 2018 Olympic debut in Pyeongchang went scoreless in tough conditions that also tripped up others.

Competitors faced light winds and high temperatures in the 20s. The course was described by commentators as hard-packed and thus dangerous for falls.

Anderson fell during two of three runs, with her best performance including a near-spill after she missed a backside rodeo 540 that stalled her landing.

Slopestyle debuted in 2014 Sochi Olympics, where the Californian nabbed her first gold before earning a second in perilous conditions at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics.

Competitors are judged on the difficulty, variety and flow of their feature-based tricks, such as skateboard-style boardslides and the twists and turns completed on jumps, and they’re allowed at least two runs. Tricks are worth 60 percent of a score, while “overall impression” composes the rest.

The Zhangjiakou Genting Snow Park’s downhill course is shared with freestyle skiing and presents boarders with rails of different lengths and curves, plateau features called mailboxes, and jumps that can produce crowd-pleasing airs.

The course outside Beijing has Great Wall-inspired design, including faux brick fortifications and a xie-shan roof, which recall the pop geography of theme park attractions like Disney’s “It’s a Small World.”

The International Ski Federation, which manages snowboarding and at the behest of the International Olympic Committee, described the course in a statement Jan. 27 as “the most technically advanced, thoughtfully designed, and awe-inspiring slopestyle course ever constructed.”

NBC News and NBC Sports, which is airing the Olympics, are divisions of NBC Universal.

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