While snowboarder Mark McMorris currently lies in a Vancouver hospital bed with a morphine drip, next year he could be on his way to the winter Olympics.
Canada Snowboard has provisionally nominated McMorris to the Olympic team just days after being seriously injured in a crash in the backcountry of Whistler, B.C. on Saturday.
Canada Snowboard said McMorris was there with his brother Craig and not on official training.
“They were out enjoying the great snow, built this jump – certainly, from what we’re told, well within his skill for his ability,” Patrick Jarvis, the executive director of Canada Snowboard, told the CJME Morning Show.
“In flat light, with fog moving in and out, (McMorris) basically misjudged his take-off, which resulted in his crash.”
The professional snowboarder suffered extensive injuries, including internal bleeding from damage to his spleen.
Jarvis said recovery time, in terms of regaining full strength, is currently estimated at six months.
“What our doctor assured us is, given Mark’s basic resilience and age and condition he’s in, that could be faster than that,” he said.
The timeline is already tight, with the PyeongChang 2018 Olympics just 10 months away.
Canada Snowboard noted it is “cautiously optimistic” about McMorris’s return. Jarvis pointed to the athlete’s previous injuries, including a broken rib he suffered while still managing to win a bronze medal at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
Jarvis said that triumph spoke “incredibly about his desire to compete and his own mental toughness.”
He added McMorris has been provisionally nominated due to his performance and the “incredible season” he just finished.
“Based on Mark’s history, him getting back and what he needs to do is just demonstrate his competitiveness and readiness in the next season and he could be on the team,” Jarvis said.