(Reuters) - Canada's Mark McMorris described his comeback from life-threatening injuries to the podium at the Pyeongchang Olympics as a "miracle" and said inspiring others with his story was worth more than the slopestyle bronze he won on Sunday.
Snowboarding near his home in British Columbia with his brother Craig in March, McMorris caught an edge as he took off for a jump and spiraled into a tree.
He broke his jaw and left arm, ruptured his spleen, suffered a pelvic fracture, rib fractures and a collapsed lung.
"People would die for a medal at the Olympics and I nearly did," he said on Monday, a day after his medal-winning run at the Phoenix Snow Park.
"It's definitely a miracle and I'm really thankful... to be able to motivate and inspire others - that's bigger than any medal, right?"
McMorris' remarkable comeback drew praise from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who tweeted: "What a journey back to the podium for @MarkMcMorris. Mark - your tenacity and courage inspire so many of us."
McMorris tweeted two photographs on Monday, one of him in the hospital following his crash and the other on the medal podium. They were accompanied by a caption: "Thank You Life."
The Canadian could add yet another chapter to his success story before the end of the Games, as McMorris is seen as a gold medal contender in the new Olympic discipline of Big Air.
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)