Julia Marino

Marino Says IOC Told Her She Couldn't Use Board With Prada Logo at Winter Olympics

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

U.S. snowboarder Julia Marino, of Westport, pulled out of the women's big air snowboard competition at the Winter Olympics in Beijing Wednesday.

Officials from U.S. Snowboarding said Marino had fallen a few days prior during a training session and was withdrawing from the big air competition due to an injury.

Marino spoke to NBC Connecticut's Gabrielle Lucivero in Beijing after her decision to withdraw and said that decision was not so simple.

While Marino said she wasn't 100% after her training fall, she said she had been told by the International Olympic Committee that she could no longer use her snowboard made by Prada.

"The night before, I get all these calls and texts saying the IOC is disapproving my Prada board -- the Prada logo," Marino said.

It's the same snowboard Marino used for the slopestyle competition more than a week ago. Marino won a silver medal in the event, the first medal of the 2022 Games for the U.S.

But just prior to the big air event, Marino was told the Prada snowboard violated the IOC's "Rule 40," which regulates athletes' personal sponsorships.

"In my opinion, when a board is approved, it's meant that all the rules were looked at and all the rules were met for the board to have been cleared in the first place," Marino said.

The IOC told Marino she either had to ride a different board or cover up the Prada logo on the base of her board. She tried using a marker to draw over the logo, but that affected the performance of the board, according to Marino.

"Nothing is supposed to touch the base of your board for a reason," Marino said. "I got on my board and my board felt off, and I just felt unstable and unsteady."

Unwilling to ride a snowboard she wasn't comfortable with, Marino decided to withdraw from the big air competition.

"It's messing with your head. It's messing with your feeling on your board," she said.

The IOC released a statement in response to questions by NBC Connecticut:

The IOC understands the athlete unfortunately fell during practice on Friday and couldn’t compete in the competition on Monday. There had been no changes to the equipment or branding when she fell on Friday. Regarding the branding of the snowboard, the athlete was competing with a snowboard with branding of a company that doesn’t primarily have its business in sporting goods, contrary to Olympic advertising rules that protect the funding of the Olympic Movement. The sports equipment would normally be approved by the relevant NOC in the first instance, and subsequently by the IF just before it enters the field of play. The IOC became aware of the issue after the athlete had competed, and together with the USOPC a solution with minimal impact was sought including the possibility of keeping the same equipment and removing the branding.

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