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X Games Champions Julia Marino, Hailey Langland Make First Olympic Team In Big Air, Slopestyle Snowboarding

By Gary R. Blockus | Jan. 20, 2018, 1:40 p.m. (ET)


Julia Marino and Hailey Langland put it together with everything on the line.

In challenging weather conditions, the two slopestyle snowboarders landed on the podium at the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix and confirmed their spots at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.

They join defending Olympic gold medalist Jamie Anderson on the 2018 U.S. Olympic Team, while one more woman will be named to the team via discretion; Jessika Jenson is the favorite for the fourth spot.

Two years ago Marino wasn’t someone whose name would have come up in conversation about medal contenders, but she has been tearing it up the past two seasons, including finishing on the podium in three of the five Olympic qualifying events for the joint big air and slopestyle snowboarding Olympic team.

Big air will make its Olympic debut next month, while slopestyle debuted in Sochi four years ago.

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Now, the 20-year-old from Westport, Connecticut, who only began snowboarding six years ago, is considered one to beat in both events.

Langland, just 17 and from San Clemente, California, had a breakout season last year that saw her win big air at the 2017 X Games Aspen. She was on the podium at two of the five qualifying events, finishing fourth at another.

Marino finished second on Saturday at Mammoth Mountain in California with 74.86 points and Langland third with 61.36 behind Anderson, who scored 84.10.

Marino vaulted onto the world stage when she won her first major big air competition in February 2016 at a world cup stop at Fenway Park in Boston, where she came in as an alternate. She then reached the podium two more times before winning gold in slopestyle and bronze in big air at her very first X Games in January 2017. She also picked up a silver medal in big air and bronze medal in slopestyle at X Games Oslo.

Langland began snowboarding when she was 5 and began focusing on slopestyle just four years ago. An X Games invitation he next year sealed the deal to stick with slopestyle, and her bio calls her the “up-and-coming face of slopestyle snowboarding.” She competed at the Winter Youth Olympic Games Lillehammer 2016 - and is now headed to the big show next month.

Gary R. Blockus is a journalist from Allentown, Pennsylvania who has covered multiple Olympic Games. He is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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Julia Marino