A week after taking silver in snowboard slopestyle at the Beijing Olympics, U.S. snowboarder Julia Marino withdrew from Monday's big air qualifier. On Tuesday on Instagram, Marino revealed the reason why, writing that the International Olympic Committee requested she cover the Prada logo on the base of her board or be disqualified from the event.
"For everyone asking, the night before the big air comp the IOC told me they no longer approved my board even tho [sic] they had approved it for slope," Marino wrote. "They told me I would be disqualified if I didn't cover the logo."
She then showed a video of the bottom of her board, the letters in Prada obscured by red marker.
Before she covered the logo, Marino took a hard slam in practice and bruised her tailbone.
According to reports, after that practice, the IOC notified Team USA that Marino was out of compliance and had to paint over the logo or use another board. According to Marino's management, the IOC contended that Prada's Linea Rossa is not a legitimate sports brand. According to the IOC, the definition of a sports brand, in part, is "an identification of the manufacturer principally used in the business of manufacturing, providing, distributing and selling sporting goods."
The IOC had previously required that Marino tape over the Prada logo on her helmet before the slopestyle competition, but her board was not discussed at the time.
In a letter to the IOC that was obtained by Front Office Sports, the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee argued that Marino had the same right to compete with a Prada board as any other rider with a Burton or Roxy board.
"Finally, covering the logo is not a feasible option. The logo is molded to the board and altering it would cause drag and interrupt the surface intended to glide," USOPC vice president Dean Nakamura wrote in the letter. "For these reasons, we ask the IOC to reconsider its position and allow Julia Marino to use the board used during the Snowboard Slopestyle competition."
The USOPC and Marino's management also argued that Linea Rossa is, in fact, a legitimate sports brand because "it is principally used in the business of manufacture, providing, distributing and selling sporting goods" and "is not principally used for non-sport products."
The IOC did not concede. Marino painted over her letters and used the board in practice, where she took another fall. She eventually decided to pull out of the contest.
"Was just feeling pretty physically and mentally drained from this distraction and the slam I took," she wrote in an Instagram story. "I was super hyped with how I did in slope, my main event, and decided not to risk further injury even tho [sic] that didn't appear to be the top priority of the IOC."