During the month of December, Olympic.ca will be revisiting the top Canadian sports moments of 2014.
Even a broken rib couldn’t stop 20 year-old superstar Mark McMorris from competing in the first ever Olympic slopestyle competition./p>
I remember watching McMo compete at the Winter X Games in Aspen, only a couple weeks before the start of Sochi 2014. Mark was a favourite to take home the gold, and he sat in first place heading into his final run.
Unfortunately, he clipped his board on one of the rails near the top of the course, and landed hard with his side bashing into the rail. He managed to hang on for silver, but it came at a price.
It was revealed shortly after the X Games that during the fall, McMorris cracked a rib in his back. The injury was very painful, but luckily it didn’t affect his ability to grab his board or perform most of his high-flying tricks. It was going to take a lot more to keep McMorris from riding in the debut of Olympic slopestyle, one of the first events at Sochi 2014.
The field for men’s snowboard slopestyle was very impressive, and many counted McMorris and his broken rib out of a shot at the podium. During his qualification runs, you could see that he didn’t quite feel 100%. He toughed his way through the pain and barely qualified for the finals, along with Canadians Max Parrot and Sébastien Toutant.
On his first run in the finals, McMorris fell on one of his big air jumps, which left him in 8th place out of 12 riders. With a medal on the line and other riders raising the bar, he knew he had to step it up.
McMorris threw down a clean final run, which left him in 2nd position with several riders left to try and best his score. All he could do was watch and pray that he stayed on the podium.
In the end, McMorris finished in the bronze medal position, becoming the first Canadian to win an Olympic slopestyle medal. It was also Canada’s first medal of Sochi 2014. It may have been the middle of the night back here in Canada, but that didn’t stop me and my roommate from screaming and celebrating as if we had just won hockey gold.
Hopefully at PyeongChan 2018, McMo will be able to compete fully healthy and bring home the gold medal that he deserves.