He's back: Mark McMorris puts world on notice with Big Air gold
Regina snowboarder returned to World Cup action after horrific injury in March
Canada's Mark McMorris made a triumphant return to World Cup snowboard Big Air on Saturday, scoring gold following a trio of spectacular jumps in Beijing.
McMorris — who suffered a horrific injury in an off-trail crash near Whistler, B.C., in March of 2017 — returned to competition to lead the way at qualifiers on Friday.
He continued that in the finals, never trailing during the event and scoring a combined 187.00 off his best two attempts — a frontside triple cork 1440 mute and a backside triple cork 1440 indy — to take top spot on the podium.
"I'm doing really good, very happy to get a win under my belt back after that injury," said McMorris. "I'm feeling on top of the world."
Tiarn Collins of New Zealand (183.75) and Torgeir Bergrem of Norway (179.75) took silver and bronze, respectively.
In late March, McMorris, a 2014 Olympic slopestyle bronze medallist and multiple X Games title winner, suffered a fractured jaw, fractured left arm, ruptured spleen, stable pelvic fracture, rib fractures and a collapsed left lung.
"Some days it felt like I would return to snowboarding and other days it wouldn't," McMorris told CBC. "I just feel really, really blessed to even have a chance to snowboard at this level again ... the fact that I was given a second chance is definitely the icing on the cake."
The victory is a step toward qualifying for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
"I just want to keep it up, keep landing on podiums and hopefully just take it into Korea and grab a few medals there for Canada and for myself," he said. "I would be thrilled to kill it [in Pyeongchang]."