In a Players’ Tribune piece, Canadian Mark McMorris provided insight into his return from a broken rib to take bronze in the first Olympic men’s snowboard slopestyle competition in Sochi last year.
McMorris broke a rib at the Winter X Games on Jan. 25, 2014. He made it to the Olympics, where he competed injured Feb. 6 and Feb. 8.
McMorris was the clear favorite for gold before his injury. He ended up finishing behind American Sage Kotsenburg and Norwegian Stale Sandbech.
The bronze medal was a remarkable achievement given McMorris’ condition. He described it well in The Players’ Tribune piece:
But I’ve never had to work as hard as those 10 days before the Sochi Olympics. Right when I got the X-Ray, the doctor told me I wasn’t going to be able to compete at Sochi. But I knew I had to. Some way, somehow. I got a hold of my doctor later that night, and this time he told me that it wouldn’t injure me more if I tried to compete. He said it wasn’t realistic to compete in the Olympics with a broken rib but that I could try. That’s all I needed to hear. Still, I was facing an uphill battle. We’re talking about a Mt. Everest type of battle. Those last couple weeks before a major competition are supposed to be when you’re perfecting your moves. You’re supposed to be putting in full days on the mountain and in the gym. Here I was, on the eve of the Olympics, barely able to take a shower without debilitating pain. I thought I had no chance, for sure.
This past season, McMorris, 21, swept the slopestyle and big air titles at the X Games. Big air will debut at the Olympics at Pyeongchang 2018.