- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 11, 2014

KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) - Freeskier Julia Marino wiped out on her final jump of the slopestyle completion Tuesday and had to climb all the way up the hill to fetch her skis.

A worthwhile hike in a very worthwhile journey.

Born in Paraguay, Marino was adopted as a toddler and grew up just outside of Boston. She could’ve possibly competed for the United States - provided she earned a spot, that is - but chose to represent Paraguay.

“I took a step back and thought about what the Olympics meant to me,” the 21-year-old explains. “I was born in Paraguay and wanted to represent my home country.”

She didn’t make it out of qualifying on Tuesday, struggling on both runs, but that hardly dampened her mood.

“This has been amazing, having all that support and love from Paraguay,” says Marino, who was the flag bearer for her country in the opening ceremony.

Asked if she would compete four years from now in South Korea, she says: “I’m still young.”

For Paraguay?

“Absolutely,” she says, “100 percent.”

- By Pat Graham - Twitter https://twitter.com/pgraham34

___

Associated Press reporters will be filing dispatches about happenings in and around Sochi during the 2014 Winter Games. Follow AP journalists covering the Olympics on Twitter: https://apne.ws/1c3WMiu

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