From Paraguay to the Olympics - Julia Marino Gallery
The Marino Family
Julia Marino and her brother, Mark, were both adopted from Paraguay as babies. They were raised by parents John and Sharon Marino in the town of Winchester, Mass.
How It Came to Be
This is the story Julia's adoptive mother, Sharon, told her two children: "Daddy and I were praying that we could find two beautiful kids to adopt. So God said, 'OK, I have these two parents who are looking for two beautiful kids,' and that's how it happened."
Raised as Skiers
Julia and Mark grew up skiing at Loon Mountain, N.H., which is two hours from their home in Massachusetts.
"I would love to thank them for giving me this opportunity," Julia says about her birth parents, whom she does not know. "They could have easily kept me in Paraguay, but they let me grow up in the United States and learn to ski. I hope they'd be proud."
A Family of Skiers
Julia was born in the Paraguayan village of Baha Negra, eight hours north of the capital city of Asuncin. This year, she returned to her birth country for the first time since she was a baby.
On her recent trip to Paraguay, Julia gave a speech to a crowd of reporters and presidents of Paraguay's Summer Olympic sports federations on her Winter Olympic dreams. "I hope you welcome my goals and accept me as your athlete," she said.
First Winter Olympian
In February, Julia will be representing Paraguay as the country's first Winter Olympic athlete in the new Olympic sport of slopestyle skiing. "The Olympics are about representing where you are from, and Paraguay is where I'm from," she says.
Proving Her Worth
"She's had a lot more work than just proving she's worthy of the Olympics as a skier," says Erik Kaloyanides, Julia's strength coach since 2008. "Because, let's face it, they had to create this."
To Make it to Sochi
To qualify for the Olympics, Julia has to have a top-30 finish in a World Cup event and be in the top 24 on the FIS points list in mid-January before the Olympics. So far, she's on track for both.
"At the end of the day, it's not like I switched countries and could just sign up for the Olympics," Julia says. "I had to work very hard to get that spot."