Canadian snowboarder Mark McMorris took home the bronze medal in men’s snowboard slopestyle last Sunday at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. Tonight, he will be competing in Big Air, the Olympics’ newest snowboarding event, where he will attempt a backside triple cork 1440. (The New York Times describes the skill as four full rotations (1440) and basically [turning] upside down three times.)
Mark was a competitor at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, where he also took home a bronze medal.
Read on to learn more about the snowboarder and his family.
1. His Older Brother Is Also a Professional Snowboarder
Mark’s brother Craig is also a professional snowboarder. He’s a member of the Canadian national snowboard team in slopestyle and has competed at four FIS Snowboard World Cup events. At the 2013 Snowboarding World Championships, Craig placed 50th.
Don, Mark and Craig’s father, tells Zoomer that the two have always had a competitive streak.
“There always been a bit of sibling rivalry, but they’ve become more supportive as they got older. They would both say they wouldn’t be where they are today if it weren’t for their brother.”
Since 2014, Craig has worked as a snowboarding analyst for CBC, ABC, and ESPN. At this year’s Olympics, he is a studio host for CBC’s Olympic coverage.
2. His Father, Don McMorris, Is a Politician
Marks father, Don McMorris, is a provincial politician in Saskatchewan.
According to Our Campaigns, Don was born in Regina, Saskatchewan on July 12, 1961.
Over the course of his career, Don has held several cabinet positions like Health Minister (2007–12), Minister of Highways and Infrastructure (2012-14), Minister of Crown Investments (2014–16) and Deputy Premier (2015–16), reports The Canadian Encyclopedia.
3. His Mother Cindy Is an Operating Room Nurse
According to Our Campaigns, Mark’s mother, Cindy, is an operating room nurse.
Speaking to Zoomer in 2014, Don said of his wife, “She’s worried about injury… I don’t think about that so much. I’m just worried that he isn’t going to do as well as he wants. He has been on top of the world and wants to stay there.”
According to The Canadian Encyclopedia, Mark began skateboarding at the ripe age of 4. One year later, his mother took him and his brother for a skiing holiday. The boys, however, opted for snowboarding. Cindy reportedly told ESPN in 2013, “I literally had to pull them off the mountain that night.”
4. His Father Was Charged with Impaired Driving in 2016
On August 5, 2016, McMorris was pulled over by police. He had a blood-alcohol level more than twice the legal limit, according to CBC.
Don McMorris pled guilty to having a blood-alcohol level of over .08 and was fined $1,820.
He resigned from the Saskatchewan Party caucus and from Executive Council the day after being charged. Outside the courthouse, CBC reports McMorris as saying to reporters, “I’m extremely embarrassed and ashamed of my actions on that day. There are no excuses.”
In court, McMorris’s defense lawyer said that his client had been drinking while watching a football game with an old friend the evening prior, and thought he was “OK” to drive the next morning, according to The Globe and Mail.
5. Mark Suffered an Injury in 2017 That Landed Him in the ICU with Near-Fatal Injuries
Last March, Mark was snowboarding in Whistler, Canada, and suffered a terrible fall. He was airlifted from the mountain with his friends and brother at his side “trying to keep him from talking as he was in pain and clouding over,” according to USA Today. Craig says he was determined to keep his brother from panicking during the incident.
When Mark arrived at the hospital, he learned he had 17 broken bones, a collapsed lung, and a ruptured spleen. Doctors reportedly put him in a medically induced coma. McMorris then had surgeries on his jaw, arm, lung and spleen.
After that, the Olympian slowly began a long recovery process. Craig says he knew his brother had the strength to recover and get back to where he once was as an athlete. Craig tells USA Today, “It was just kind of make sure he’s healthy and he could move all limbs and all that kind of stuff. And obviously, snowboarding was in the back of everybody’s mind but nobody wanted to jump ahead to that.”