Daily Olympic Recap: Julia Marino, Jaelin Kauf earn Team USA's first medals

Julia Marino holds a U.S. flag - Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Julia Marino holds a U.S. flag – Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Editor’s note: Each and every day of the 2022 Winter Games, NBCOlympics.com will break down the biggest overnight stories from across the competition landscape that you might have missed. A separate daily article will also detail what not to miss over the next day of competition.

On the second full day of competition at the 2022 Winter Olympics, the United States earned its first medal. As expected, that medal came in women’s snowboard slopestyle, but in a bit of a surprise, it was won by someone other than Jamie Anderson. Elsewhere, the figure skating team event continued into its second day, the U.S. women’s hockey team played its third game, and Americans competed in the women’s moguls final. Here’s a look at what you may have missed overnight…

Snowboarding

In women’s snowboard slopestyle, Team USA won its first medal of the 2022 Winter Games, and New Zealand won its first Winter Olympic gold medal ever.

It all came down to the final run of the contest as Zoi Sadowski-Synnott stomped a huge, clean run — which featured a switch backside 900, frontside double cork 1080 and backside 1080 on the jumps — to move up from second to first and take the win. It gave the New Zealander her second career Olympic medal and her country’s first-ever gold following the bronze medal she won in big air at the 2018 Games.

Sadowski-Synnott, 20, entered as the slight favorite but was expected to battle with American Jamie Anderson, the event’s two-time defending gold medalist, for the win. However, Anderson fell on two of her three runs and made a mistake on her third, leaving her outside of medal contention. Instead it was Anderson’s teammate, Connecticut native Julia Marino, stepping up to challenge Sadowski-Synnott for the victory.

Despite being pegged as a gold medal contender four years ago in PyeongChang, Marino was somewhat off the radar entering these Olympics. But her second run, which included a cab double underflip 900 and a frontside double cork 1080, was arguably the best of her career, and it vaulted her to the top of the leaderboard until Sadowski-Synnott’s final run. After all the scores had come in, Marino’s run was more than enough for a silver medal, giving the U.S. its first hardware of this year’s Games.

Sadowski-Synnott, Marino, Anderson and the rest of the slopestyle athletes still have one more chance to compete with big air coming up in eight days.

Results: Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle

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