Road To The Olympic Games


Canadian snowboarder Darcy Sharpe still proving his doubters wrong

Many of us did some pretty dumb things when we were kids. Snowboarding down a mountain while wearing a beaver costume probably wasn't one of them, something Canadian slopestyle snowboarder Darcy Sharpe thought was a 'great idea' at 12 years old.

22-year-old says many people in his hometown didn't take him seriously growing up

Canada's Darcy Sharpe, a self-described thrill-seeker, focuses on landing the hardest tricks. (Darko Bandic/Associated Press)

Many of us did some pretty dumb things when we were kids. Snowboarding down a mountain while wearing a beaver costume probably wasn't one of them.

"I thought it was a great idea,' said Canadian slopestyle snowboarder Darcy Sharpe, reminiscing about the time he did just that when he was 12 years old.

It wasn't a great idea. Sharpe had no peripheral vision while snowboarding down Mount Washington on Vancouver Island in the beaver outfit and crashed into a female skier.

"She was super upset," he said. "She started screaming at me."

'Teachers thought what I was doing was a joke'

The 22-year-old often got into trouble growing up, and didn't have the best reputation while growing up in Comox, B.C.

"My friends' parents were police officers and they always wanted to pull me over to see what was going on with me."

Despite being a talented snowboarder from an early age, many people didn't take Sharpe's craft seriously.

"Teachers thought that what I was doing was a joke, and missing school was a joke."

Over time, Sharpe has certainly proven that what he's doing is not a joke.

In 2015, he won a gold medal in big air at the FIS Snowboard World Cup event in Quebec City.

In September 2017, Sharpe won a silver medal in slopestyle at a World Cup event in New Zealand.

And in January 2018, he won a silver medal at the Winter X Games, placing ahead of the entire Canadian slopestyle contingent that was going to the Olympics in Pyeongchang the following month.

WATCH | Darcy Sharpe interview after winning 1st Winter X Games medal:

The Comox, B.C. native spoke with CBC Sports' Jacqueline Doorey after winning silver in men's snowboard slopestyle at the Winter X Games 2:13

Sharpe, who resides in Whistler, B.C., had enough talent to make Canada's Olympic team. However, he hadn't racked up enough points to make the Winter Games due to injuries throughout the qualification process.

"It was frustrating to know you can get an Olympic medal for your country, but you can't go."

He also took issue with Canada being allocated just four spots for men's slopestyle in Pyeongchang.

"If you have superpower countries in the sport that are only allowed a certain amount of people to get in, the Olympics becomes a less difficult contest."

Darcy Sharpe celebrates after winning a silver medal in men's slopestyle at the 2018 Winter X Games in Aspen, Colo. (CBC Olympics/Twitter)

What's my ranking?

As of Jan. 21, Sharpe is ranked third in Canada and eighth in the world, according to the world snowboarding points list.

Those rankings are news to him.

"That's the first time I've heard my ranking in a long time. I don't check the rankings very much or compare myself to fellow Canadians."

Instead, the self-described thrill-seeker focuses on snowboarding to the best of his ability, landing the hardest tricks he's capable of, and continuing to enjoy his craft. 

Sharpe knows he's always been motivated by his passion for the sport, but fears that parents have taken the wrong attitude towards slopestyle since it became an Olympic event in 2014.

"They come up to me and ask, 'What'd you do? How do I get my kid to be as good as you?' I tilt my head and say, 'You need to just chill, and let your kid have fun.'"

Does Sharpe ever feel vindicated when he thinks about the people that didn't take him seriously as a kid?

"Not much. The moment I'll feel validation is when I can go home and start snowboard clubs or fundraisers, help less fortunate kids get back on snowboards, and help the indigenous programs."

"I feel like that will be a perfect backhand to all those people."

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