Skier Izzy Atkin made history Saturday as she won the United Kingdom its first-ever Olympic skiing medal at a Winter Games — a huge honor for an athlete who happened to be born in the U.S.
While Atkin, 19, competed for Britain, the bronze medalist lives in Park City, Utah, and originally hailed from Boston.
Atkin claimed Britain’s first Winter Olympics skiing medal in Saturday’s slopestyle event with a score of 84.60 — bringing the country’s 2018 medal count to four.
Izzy Atkin's wins @TeamGB 's first ever medal in skiing at a Winter Olympics! 👌
What a STUNNING run under immense pressure 😅
— Team GB (@TeamGB) February 17, 2018
“I still can’t believe it. I’m really overwhelmed. I’m just really happy,” Atkin said after her big win, according to ESPN. “I’m really proud of how I skied in that last run. I would have been stoked with anything but I am really happy with third.”
The youngest member of the British team, Atkin holds dual U.S.-U.K. citizenship and was born to British and Malaysian parents, The Independent reported. She reportedly first went to England when she was five months old, and her parents toyed with whether to stay in America or with family back in England.
The Atkins ultimately moved to Utah after Izzy persuaded her parents to attend a specialist skiing school, according to the newspaper.
Pat Sharples, the head coach of Britain’s Park and Pipe team, said he saw a chance for Atkin to represent the U.K., calling the 19-year-old “the dark horse, the little quiet girl who has come from behind and this is just the start of her career.”
Atkin’s father said a large part of Izzy’s decision to compete with Britain is because the U.S. has so many competitors.
“The U.S. team is a very big team and Isabel is shy and reserved so we thought she’d do better in a smaller environment,” her father said.
Still, some viewers took to Twitter to vent their confusion as to why she didn’t compete for the United States.
Just seen izzy atkins interviewed. Born Boston, Massachusetts. Moved to Utah aged 14. Struggling to see 🇬🇧 connection. #PyeongChang2018
— Robert Weaver (@robweaverwm) February 18, 2018
Izzy Atkins doesn't sound very British. Assume she lives in the US?
— TOWIKH (@KingsHillChat) February 17, 2018
Lovely American accent from 'British' Izzy Atkins there
— Tony Newby (@tonynewby30) February 17, 2018
Isabel Atkin wins a bronze medal for the UK in Pyeonchang. Well done. Happy to ignore the fact that she was born in US, lives in US 🤔🇬🇧
— Paul Holland (@PaulPEholland) February 17, 2018
Of course, Atkin isn’t the only Olympian to compete for an opposing country.
Minnesota’s Hannah Brandt is competing for Team USA for women’s ice hockey, while her sister Marissa, who was adopted as in infant in South Korea, is playing on behalf of her birth country.