PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — Snowboarders Max Parrot and Mark McMorris won Canada’s first medals of the Pyeongchang Olympics on Sunday, taking home silver and bronze respectively in men’s slopestyle.
Parrot fell in his first two runs but nailed his third to bump McMorris out of the silver medal position with a score of 86.00.
“It’s my first Olympic medal, so it’s a little check next to that,” said Parrot, who is from Bromont, Que. “It’s mission accomplished for me here. I’m really happy.”
McMorris had been sitting atop the standings after his second-run score of 85.20 before American Redmond Gerard surpassed him with 87.16 points in his final attempt. McMorris fell in his last trip down the course.
It’s the second Olympic bronze for McMorris, who is coming back from life-threatening injuries suffered in a backcountry crash less than a year ago.
The 24-year-old from Regina suffered breaks to his jaw and left arm, a ruptured spleen, a stable pelvic fracture, rib fractures and a collapsed left lung. He spent 10 days in hospital and was on a liquid diet for six weeks.
“I’m on the podium. I probably shouldn’t even be here,” said McMorris.
From the start of his recovery, he was determined to get back to his previous snowboarding form. McMorris showed he could do it by winning a World Cup just eight months after the crash.
“The lowest point (was) not being able to move,” he said of the time after the crash. “Being super uncomfortable, not being able to talk, that sucked. It was for one stupid mistake. I wish I could take that back every day of my life.”
McMorris, who won bronze four years ago at the Sochi Games when slopestyle made its Olympic debut, hit a tree off a jump during a trip to the backcountry with some friends, including his brother Craig.
In women’s slopestyle, Laurie Blouin of Stoneham, Que., was cleared to return to the hill after suffering an apparent head injury during a training session earlier this week at Phoenix Park. She was on the start list for Sunday’s qualification round, which was postponed because of poor weather.
“Canadian snowboarder Laurie Blouin has been cleared for practice by Team Canada medical staff,” Canada Snowboard spokesman Brendan Matthews said in an email. “Following thorough testing and evaluation including an independent second opinion, Blouin is asymptomatic and is cleared for practice this morning.”
The reigning world champion took a hard fall Friday when her board got stuck in a crack after she landed a double jump. Blouin was taken to a regional hospital as a precaution before returning to the athletes’ village later that day.
Most of the slopestyle competitors will also compete in the big air event in Pyeongchang, a new addition to the Olympic program for 2018. The big air finals are set for Feb. 23-24 at Alpensia Ski Jumping Centre.
News from © The Canadian Press, 2018, All Rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.