Snowboarders Parrot, McMorris bring home Canada’s first medals

B.C. athlete takes the bronze on Day 2

Snowboarders Max Parrot and Mark McMorris won Canada’s first medals of the Pyeongchang Olympics on Sunday, taking home silver and bronze respectively in men’s slopestyle.

Parrot fell in his first two runs but nailed his third to bump McMorris out of the silver medal position with a score of 86.00.

“It’s my first Olympic medal, so it’s a little check next to that,” said Parrot, who is from Bromont, Que. ”It’s mission accomplished for me here. I’m really happy.”

McMorris had been sitting atop the standings after his second-run score of 85.20 before American Redmond Gerard surpassed him with 87.16 points in his final attempt. McMorris fell in his last trip down the course.

It’s the second Olympic bronze for McMorris, who is coming back from life-threatening injuries suffered in a backcountry crash less than a year ago.

The 24-year-old from Regina suffered breaks to his jaw and left arm, a ruptured spleen, a stable pelvic fracture, rib fractures and a collapsed left lung. He spent 10 days in hospital and was on a liquid diet for six weeks.

“I’m on the podium. I probably shouldn’t even be here,” said McMorris.

From the start of his recovery, he was determined to get back to his previous snowboarding form. McMorris showed he could do it by winning a World Cup just eight months after the crash.

“The lowest point (was) not being able to move,” he said of the time after the crash. “Being super uncomfortable, not being able to talk, that sucked. It was for one stupid mistake. I wish I could take that back every day of my life.”

McMorris, who won bronze four years ago at the Sochi Games when slopestyle made its Olympic debut, hit a tree off a jump during a trip to the backcountry with some friends, including his brother Craig.

In women’s slopestyle, Laurie Blouin of Stoneham, Que., was cleared to return to the hill after suffering an apparent head injury during a training session earlier this week at Phoenix Park. She was on the start list for Sunday’s qualification round, which was postponed due to poor weather.

“Canadian snowboarder Laurie Blouin has been cleared for practice by Team Canada medical staff,” Canada Snowboard spokesman Brendan Matthews said in an email. “Following thorough testing and evaluation including an independent second opinion, Blouin is asymptomatic and is cleared for practice this morning.”

The reigning world champion took a hard fall Friday when her board got stuck in a crack after she landed a double jump. Blouin was taken to a regional hospital as a precaution before returning to the athletes’ village later that day.

Most of the slopestyle competitors will also compete in the big air event in Pyeongchang, a new addition to the Olympic program for 2018. The big air finals are set for Feb. 23-24 at Alpensia Ski Jumping Centre.

In figure skating, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir made sure Canada kept a solid grip of first place in the team event Saturday at the Pyeongchang Olympics.

The three-time ice dancing world champions and Olympic gold and silver medallists scored 80.51 points for their short dance to the Rolling Stones’ “Sympathy For The Devil,” ”Hotel California” by the Eagles and Santana’s ”Oye Como Va.”

Also, Kaetlyn Osmond of Marystown, N.L., earned a 71.38 score in the women’s competition, good for third in her segment of the event. That added eight points to Canada total for a combined score of 35 points.

Evgenia Medvedeva’s 81.06 points were best in the women’s competition on Sunday, giving the Olympic Athletes from Russia 10 points for a cumulative score of 31, good for second.

The United States sat third after the women’s with 29 points. Japan and Italy also qualified for the next round.

In mixed doubles curling, Kaitlyn Lawes and John Morris clinched first in round-robin play. The Canadians beat South Korea’s Hyeji Jang and Kijeong Lee 7-3 to finish the round robin 6-1.

Canada had already locked up a semifinal berth with an 8-2 win over Olympic Athletes from Russia on Saturday.

The Canadian Press

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