Canada’s Mark McMorris is doing everything he can to stay safe ahead of the Beijing Olympics, which he says will start as planned. McMorris will compete in a Snowboard World Cup event at Mammoth Mountain, California.
Canada’s Mark McMorris is doing everything he can to stay safe ahead of the Beijing Olympics, which he says will start as planned.
McMorris will compete in a World Cup snowboarding event at Mammoth Mountain, Calif., This weekend and then “be insanely low” until the start of the Beijing Olympics in early February. The 2020 Tokyo Summer Games have been delayed for a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and soaring infection rates from the Omicron variant have once again raised the specter of a postponement of the Olympic Games.
He said he relied on room service in his hotel room in Las Vegas until it was time to leave for California, then he would take training in Whistler, Columbia. British, before going into hiding and waiting for his flight to China.
“I think it’s a small price to pay for something that’s a huge goal for me to go out there and compete and I’ve been waiting for this one for a while,” McMorris said on Monday. “It’s such a shame that (Omicron) came out and is so transmissible right before the Games.
“It felt a bit colder when the Summer Games were going on. But yes, here we are.”
McMorris will compete in big air and slopestyle at his third Olympics in Beijing. He won a bronze medal in slopestyle at the Sochi Olympics in 2014 and then achieved the same result in 2018 at the Pyeongchang Games, 11 months after a catastrophic accident while snowboarding in the backcountry at outside of Whistler.
The Regina native, 28, said outside of this weekend’s competition he will be isolated with his team all the way to Beijing. When contact is necessary with people outside this bubble, it will be “double masked”.
“I’m really trying to stay out of harm’s way for just a month. You know, at least go for it,” McMorris said. “I haven’t been so freaked out about getting it until now.”
McMorris has had a difficult 2020-21 season, including struggles to qualify for the Beijing Olympics. He missed the season’s World Cup opening event in Laax, Switzerland, when Canada’s entire squad was quarantined due to COVID-19.
He then tested positive for the virus – although he remained asymptomatic – on January 26, causing him to miss the X-Games in Aspen, Colo.
Much of his season was captured in “Chasing Winter,” a four-part documentary series produced by Red Bull and currently airing on CBC Gem. Starring McMorris and starring Americans Jake Caster, Brock Crouch, Hailey Langland, as well as Japan’s Takeru Otsuka and Miyabi Onitsuka, the series follows snowboarders as they attempt to qualify for the Olympics – which, as a running joke, none of them can be referred to by name for copyright reasons.
“It was really cool showing me that I was going to my third Games and what my path was like in the last four years,” said McMorris. “And then bring in all these people who I think have some really, really great stories to tell, and have a good chance of going (to the Olympics) and just want to bring the audience in and show it’s a real thing. . It’s gnarled and it’s fun. “
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on January 3, 2022.
John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press