By Jack Tarrant
PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (Reuters) - Canada's Mark McMorris left everything out on the course during Sunday’s slopestyle final, securing a second Olympic bronze medal and completing a heroic comeback from injury.
Riding in the back country with his brother Craig in March, the then-23-year-old caught an edge as he took off for a jump and spiralled into a tree.
McMorris broke his jaw and left arm, ruptured his spleen, suffered a pelvic fracture, rib fractures and a collapsed lung.
The injuries were so severe that McMorris feared he might lose his life.
Now though he is back on an Olympic podium and the 24-year-old believes this medal means more to him than the bronze from Sochi four years ago.
"It feels pretty special to stand on this podium again after everything," said McMorris after his final run.
"Not getting to participate much over the past couple of years has been pretty tough but really pumped to land a run that was definitely gold medal worthy if there were a little less sketches but I am stoked to put it down."
"I need to pinch myself because I should have some permanent damage from what my accident entailed."
Speaking to Reuters before the Olympics, McMorris had said the injuries had given him a new outlook on life.
These thoughts were still present after Sunday’s final, won by American Redmond Gerard, as McMorris said he was just pleased to be healthy and riding once again.
"I think it doesn’t really matter (what medal you get) as long as you are out here riding and boarding as good as you can," enthused McMorris.
"There is nothing to worry about. The judging is out of your hands and so you just have to try your best and that is what I did and I was rewarded."
(Reporting by Jack Tarrant; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)