Tag Archives: Prada

Catching Up (And Air) With Julia Marino

February was a wild month for Julia Marino.

The Westporter won a silver medal in slopestyle snowboarding at the Beijing Olympics. She withdrew from the big air event due to injury — and promptly got embroiled in a controversy with the International Olympic Committee over it.

After a couple of days’ rest at the Sturges Highway home where she grew up, the 24-year-old flew to Milan. She hung out with other celebrities at Fashion Week — and why not? Prada is one of her sponsors.

Last weekend, she was back in Westport. As Julia caught her breath, I caught up with her.

Her backyard held many memories. As a 3-year-old, she learned to ride a bike on the tennis court. Later, her dad John helped her build a skate ramp nearby. Always, she and her younger sister Cece played in a tree fort, and on rope swings.

(From left): Julia, Elaine and Cece Marino, at Maine’s Old Port in 2019.

She also skateboarded at the Compo Beach park, and played soccer, basketball and softball in town.

After Long Lots Elementary and Bedford Middle Schools, Julia transferred to St. Joseph High in Trumbull. They accommodated her already-hectic snowboarding travel schedule — and besides, they had a powerhouse soccer team.

Julia Marino’s 5th grade writeup, n the Long Lots yearbook. How many elementary school students’ dreams come true?!

The Staples girls program had not yet reached its current state championship heights. But as a junior, Julia — who began playing with the Westport Soccer Association, then continued with Yankee United, CFC and Beachside — helped the Cadets win a Class L state title.

Julia Marino’s U-9 Westport Soccer Association team. She’s in the front row, far right.

By senior year, Julia was taking her classes online. Snowboarding had become her primary sport.

It began years earlier, when Julia, Cece, John, her mother Elaine and uncle took their annual trip to Beaver Creek, Colorado. Her skis snapped on a mogul, so she spent the rest of the week snowboarding.

In 8th grade, Julia Marino’s Bedford Middle School Science Fair project was on “Testing the Best Type of Wax to Increase the Speed of a Snowboard.”

With encouragement from instructors — and a love for the freewheeling nature of the sport — she was soon competing. At 13, her parents signed her up for Vermont’s Stratton Mountain weekend program. She missed school every Friday — but she was hooked.

She spent the next winter at the Stratton Mountain School. The year after that, she and her father were in Colorado, where she competed and attended school.

By the time she was 16, Julia was on the national team. She traveled the world. She missed her family and home town. But there were mountains to conquer.

Which she did. Julia is a 7-time X Games medalist, and was on the US team for the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang.

This year’s Olympic Games were different — and not just because Julia became the first US athlete to medal there, in any sport. COVID meant that families were not allowed in China. Julia’s mom, dad, sister and friends watched from half a world away, on Vivid-Tek’s huge Post Road screen.

Julia Marino, on the Olympic podium.

“It was really weird. We were heavily bubbled in China. There were lots of restrictions. It would have been tough for parents,” Julia said.

But because Elaine and John had not been at most of her competitions, it was nothing new.

And though this was the Olympics — with exponentially more worldwide attention than any other event — Julia treated it as, well, just another event.

“I tried not to overthink things, or get too stressed out,” she said. Meanwhile, texts and emails from back home helped motivate her.

Despite the injury that forced her to withdraw from big air, and the controversy over the IOC’s banning of her board because of its Prada logo, she is “over the moon” with her slopestyle results.

That’s her favorite part of snowboarding, Julia said. It’s a creative event, always different and new. She loves linking all the rails together, soaring from one to the next. “I really get into a flow on the course,” she noted.

Of course, winning an Olympic medal is every athlete’s dream.

Then came her whirlwind trip to Milan. She had a great time meeting the rest of the Prada team, meeting other celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Charli D’Amelio, and strengthening connections between sports and fashion.

Julia Marino (right) and actress Emma Mackey, in the front row at Milan’s Fashion Week.

Soon it was back to Westport. But not for long.

Julia heads to Colorado on Friday, for a media event with Mountain Dew. Then comes Whistler, in British Columbia, for a vacation — snowboarding with friends.

Beyond that, Julia — an avid videographer — would like to make snowboarding films. “I’m close with a lot of girls from the Olympics. We talked a lot about that,” she said.

And why not? For Julia Marino — Westport’s Olympic medalist snowboarder — the sky’s the limit.

Click below for a video of Julia’s years in Westport, created by her mother Elaine.

Olympic Controversy: Did IOC Contribute To Julia Marino’s Injury?

Kamila Valieva’s drug test and China’s treatment of its Uighur minority are not the only controversies of the 2022 Olympics.

Sports Illustrated reports that the International Olympic Committee is under fire after an injury to US snowboard silver medalist — and Westport resident — Julia Marino.

According to SI, the IOC demanded that Marino cover a Prada sponsorship logo on her snowboard, or use a different board. The fashion company is not an official Olympic sponsor.

Front Office Sports notes: “Marino and Prada have earned raves from the global press for the ‘Linea Rossa’ line, merging high fashion with action sports.” A Wall Street Journal headline read: The Silver Wears Prada.” 

Marino covered the logo, but fell during practice for the big air event. The sponsorship distraction may have been a cause. She later dropped out of the competition.

When Marino won silver in slopestyle, she had acceded to the IOC’s demand to tape over the Prada logo on her helmet.

Julia Marino (center) waits for slopestyle results. The Prada logo on her helmet was covered up. (Screenshot photo/Jeanine Esposito)

A helmet is of course less important to a snowboarder than the board itself. The US Olympic & Paralympic Committee took up Marino’s cause, arguing to the IOC that her board was no different than one that says Burton or Roxy — 2 famous snowboard brands.

The USOPC said that covering the log was “not a feasible option. The logo is molded to the board and altering it would cause drag and interrupt the surface intended to glide,”

Marino posted on Instagram: “The base of a board is important for your speed and not meant to have anything on it but wax, having marker and other things on the bottom basically defeats the purpose.

“Anyway, I dropped into the jump to see how the tailbone felt after taking a slam the other day in practice and after my base (was) altered, I had no speed for the jump and wasn’t able to clear it several times. Was just feeling pretty physically and mentally drained from this distraction and the slam I took … decided not to risk further injury even (though) that didn’t appear to be the top priority of the IOC.”

(Click here for the full Front Office Sports story. Hat tip: Dave Briggs)