Almost dying 11 months ago, snowboarder returns to win Olympic medal
The 24-year-old, Mark McMorris, Canadian snowboarder, barely survived hitting a tree 11 months ago while practicing has earned an Olympic bronze medal in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
By the tiniest of margins, McMorris won bronze instead of gold. He’s not disappointed at all, but actually grateful.
“I probably shouldn’t be here,” McMorris said. “I need to pinch myself a little bit.”
While doing some backcountry skiing in Whistler, British Columbia, McMorris hit a tree. CBC reported McMorris suffered a “fractured jaw, fractured left arm, ruptured spleen, a stable pelvic fracture, rib fractures and a collapsed left lung.” It was over an hour later that rescuers were able to get to him.
Apparently a lot can change in a week.. So so thankful to have my life! It was touch and go there for a second and I don't know how I can thank everyone enough for praying and sending healing vibes…. I hit a tree in the whistler backcountry a week ago and to be honest I was pretty sure I was going to die… @craigmcmorris @torsteinhorgmo @erinhogue @brandonkelly and @ryantiene saved my life by staying calm, building me a nest, and calling search and rescue🙏🏼 I will never take another day on this earth for granted .. 😌 Much Love❤
McMorris may have won third, but he feels he’s a winner and many agree.
“I feel really good to be an Olympic medalist, pretty special to stay on this podium again after everything,” McMorris said. “It’s just a really progressive sport and not getting to participate that much in the last two years has been pretty tough.
“I’m really pumped to land the run that definitely was gold-medal worthy if there would’ve been a little less sketches here and there. But definitely still stoked to put it down.”
McMorris made some tiny mistakes on his second run when he scored an 85.20. But momentarily, he was in first place.
“It doesn’t really matter, as long as you’re out here snowboarding and riding as good as you can,” McMorris said. “That’s what I’m up to. I’m stoked. It’s nothing to worry about.”
“The judging is out of your hands,” McMorris said. “Just try your best, and that’s what I did. I was rewarded and really pumped.”
McMorris also competed in Sochi, but he felt the journey to the 2018 Winter Olympic games was a lot more challenging.
The 24-year-old has four gold medals in slopestyle from the X Games in Aspen alone, earned a bronze medal in Sochi as well, and a year ago was ranked the No. 1 snowboarder in the world.
“It was a pretty tough road in Sochi as well, but this has been maybe tougher,” McMorris said. “I probably shouldn’t be here or should have some permanent damage from what my accident entailed. Pretty stoked. It’s really cool.”