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Mark McMorris will not stop at 2022 Olympic bronze in snowboarding


McMorris, from Regina, said Monday that he fully intends to make a run at the 2026 Winter Olympics

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ZHANGJIAKOU — Mark McMorris is stuck on bronze, but he thinks there’s time for an upgrade.

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McMorris, from Regina, said Monday that he fully intends to make a run at the 2026 Winter Olympics. The 28-year-old snowboarding star won his third slopestyle bronze medal on Monday at Genting Snow Park. It’s a colour that offers both pride and frustration.

“It’s always been there, man,” McMorris later said of his desire to switch medal colours. “In a judged sport, it gets a little tricky at times. I’ve got to watch everything back, but I’m super proud of the way I rode, and standing on the box regardless is a good feeling. But most importantly, landing the run you wanted and riding to the best of your ability is all you can take care of. The rest is in their hands, and today, they put me in third.”

McMorris reacted jubilantly after his third and last run of the men’s final, which he thought would leave him in a gold or silver-medal position. But judges gave him 88.53, which trailed gold medalist Max Parrot of Canada (90.96) and silver medalist Su Yiming of China (88.70).

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The latter, just 17 years old, has known McMorris — a frequent visitor to China — for years.

“He’s been my idol since I started snowboarding,” said Su, who had a pinch-me moment when he shared the podium with the veteran Canadian.

McMorris’s body has endured some horrific injuries, including a nearly fatal 2017 back-country snowboarding accident. The 10-time X Games gold medalist is a medical concoction of flesh, bone, screws, plates and scars, and he noted that he’ll be 32 years old when the 2026 Games commence.

But he’s proud of his longevity in the sport. He says hitting the medal podium in three straight Olympics is a difficult thing to do in the punishing world of snowboarding.

“Taking care of my body, and being able to compete at this level after what I’ve been through is really, really special,” he said.

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Which takes him to the future.

“I would like to be there,” he said of the 2026 Games. “As long as I’m still having fun, I’m still in the mix and feel as if I can perform at a super-high level, and if my body co-operates, I don’t see why I shouldn’t be there. I feel like I have all the tricks to be winning still, which feels really good.”

Yiming Su of Team China celebrates after winning the silver medal during the Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle Final on Day 3 of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games.
Yiming Su of Team China celebrates after winning the silver medal during the Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle Final on Day 3 of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games. Photo by Patrick Smith /Getty Images

On Monday, McMorris watched a teammate take the gold, and a teenager who idolizes him grab the silver. He says he had his own heroes while growing up, and he’s glad to see Su take wing.

“I’m seeing this little kid,” he related of those early meetings. “He’s always around, and he loves snowboarding more than anything, and idolizes me. And then boom — this fall, he’s just so damn good, and he became a man.”

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But McMorris also knows how good his last run was, and those competitive instincts haven’t gone anywhere. A bronze medal? He said he’ll watch the replay and see if he agrees with the judges — their job, he acknowledges, is not one he envies — but in the meantime, he’s a three-time Olympic medalist, and he figures that’s a very good thing indeed.

“Obviously, the shade of medal would be nice to have changed up,” he said. “But there’s a lot to be proud of with those accomplishments. In a judged sport, it’s a little tricky. But to ride really strong at three Olympics and get a medal each time … I’m really proud and thankful.”

kemitchell@postmedia.com

twitter.com/kmitchsp

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