Less than a year after a fall that nearly claimed his life, Canadian snowboarder Mark McMorris was back on the medal podium on Saturday.
McMorris won bronze in the men’s slopestyle Sunday in PyeongChang when 11 months ago he was unsure if he would ever snowboard again.
In March, McMorris was riding in the backcountry near Whistler, British Columbia, when he went off a jump and crashed into a tree, resulting in a broken jaw, broken left arm, ruptured spleen, a pelvic fracture, rib fractures and a collapsed lung. The photo above was the result.
According to CBC, McMorris was knocked unconscious from the fall and had to be airlifted to Vancouver for emergency surgery to control his bleeding and also repair the breaks to his jaw and arm.
“I didn’t think I’d ever snowboard again when I was laying there after I hit that tree,” he said. “I was awake and was waiting. As soon as the helicopter got there (90 minutes later) I went to sleep. I remember the whole time waiting, just trying to survive because (I) ruptured (my) spleen and all that and my jaw was just hanging. I was puking. I thought I was going to die — literally.”
What followed was an arduous recovery process, including 10 days in the hospital, a liquid diet that lasted six weeks and hours of daily physical therapy. And within months the 24-year-old was back on his snowboard. He even won gold at a World Cup Big Air event in China in November.
From there, McMorris earned his spot on the Canadian Olympic team. And after a qualifying run that yielded this hilarious CBC commentary, McMorris reached the podium Sunday alongside countryman Max Parrot, who captured silver to give Canada its first two medals of the PyeongChang games. It’s the second medal for McMorris, who put up a score of 85.20, narrowly behind Parrot’s 86.00. McMorris previously also won bronze in Sochi, also in slopestyle, while competing with a broken rib.
— Vanessa Jang (@vanessajang) February 11, 2018
— Team Canada (@TeamCanada) February 11, 2018
The two Canadians finished behind 17-year-old American Redmond Gerard, who gave the U.S. its first gold of 2018 with a score of 87.16.
McMorris will return to action in the men’s big air event, beginning Wednesday.
More Olympic coverage from Yahoo Sports:
• How the Olympics could unify Korea
• Dutch speedskating fans troll Donald Trump with message on flag
• Teenager Red Gerard wins first U.S. medal, taking gold in snowboarding slopestyle
• Earthquake hits roughly 100 miles from PyeongChang
• South Korea wins first gold in speed skating in unusual way
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