Team Canada - Mark McMorrisPhoto: THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Geir Olsen/NTB Scanpix via AP
Photo: THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Geir Olsen/NTB Scanpix via AP

McMorris wins big air gold in first competition after accident

Mark McMorris made a victorious return to competition, winning the FIS Snowboard World Cup big air in Beijing on Saturday.

It was his first contest entered since his life-threatening off-season snowboarding accident in British Columbia’s backcountry this past spring.

RELATED: Mark McMorris suffers severe injuries on backcountry snowboard trip

McMorris had been the top qualifier out of his heat for the final, where he really put on a show, hitting all three of his runs, of which only two scores were counted.

McMorris started off with a frontside triple cork 1440, getting 91.75 points from the judges to put him just behind the 92.00 for New Zealand’s Tiarn Collins, who had won the other qualifying heat.

The second trick for McMorris was a backside triple cork 1440 mute that earned him 92.75 points, leapfrogging him over Collins and into first place.

For his final jump, McMorris laid down a flawless backside triple cork 1440 indy, garnering him 95.25 points to secure the gold medal. McMorris totalled 187.00 points while Collins took the silver with 183.75 points and Norway’s Torgeir Bergrem came in for the bronze with 179.75, bolstered by the 96.25 he scored on his third jump.

“I think after my big injury, the thing I noticed most is that I really appreciate snowboarding more than I ever have. I am so happy to do this,“ McMorris was quoted by FIS.

RELATED: Two Canadian snowboarders one step closer to PyeongChang 2018 

Based on last season’s success, which included big air gold at the US Open and at the Olympic test event, McMorris was pre-qualified, alongside Max Parrot, by Canada Snowboard to Team Canada for PyeongChang 2018. The full Olympic snowboard team will be finalized in January.