A beaming Mark McMorris stood proudly on the Olympic podium on Sunday after winning bronze in the men’s snowboard slopestyle.
It is the second time the 24-year-old Canadian wins bronze in the Winter Olympics. However, McMorris’ near-death experience makes his journey to Pyeongchang short of extraordinary.
Last year, the snowboarder suffered serious injuries after crashing into a tree following a miscalculated jump.
He was rescued from the backcountry near Whistler, Canada, with a fractured jaw, a ruptured spleen, a pelvic and rib fractures, and a collapsed lung.
With such severe injuries, McMorris feared he might lose his life, he told Reuters.
“It feels pretty special to stand on this podium again after everything,” said McMorris.
But on Sunday, McMorris made a historic comeback by winning his second bronze medal in snowboarding.
The winter athlete tweeted two photographs of himself on Monday, one after the accident and another one on the Olympic podium with the caption: “Thank You Life”.
The snowboarder said his injuries also gave him another outlook on life.
“I think it doesn’t really matter [what medal you get] as long as you are out here riding and boarding as good as you can.”
McMorris hopes his story will motivate and inspire others.
The athlete’s remarkable comeback was praised by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who tweeted following McMorris' win.