Canadian Mark McMorris, who enters the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, as the presumed favorite in the slopestyle, told the Associated Press he’s feeling “pretty good” nearly a week after fracturing a rib in a crash during the Winter X Games slopestyle final on Jan. 25 in Aspen.
McMorris said he will snowboard in a few days to “see how it goes.”
The 20-year-old fell on his rib after the railing caught his snowboard. McMorris landed hard on the bar and slid down before finally hitting the snow. He then stayed down on the ground for several minutes before being able to get back up.
When asked if his sore rib might hamper him, McMorris said he couldn’t predict his performance until he returns to action.
McMorris’s injury gives American Shaun White, the two-time defending gold medalist in the half-pipe, a better chance to add success in a second event to his resume. The two have faced each other several times in slopestyle before, with McMorris usually holding the upper hand.
The Canadian won the Winter X Games slopestyle competition in Jan. 2013, while White finished fifth. In December, McMorris and White competed in the Dew Tour iON Mountain Championships. White had the best qualifying score but had to pull out before the final due to an ankle injury. McMorris then won with higher scores than White’s qualifying mark.
White is not competing in the X Games so he can concentrate on the Sochi Games.
While the two say they are friends, the Saskatchewan native recently criticized White on his slopestyle skills.
“He doesn’t dominate slopestyle at all,” McMorris said to ESPN. “He doesn’t ride rails. He doesn’t watch snowboarding, I don’t think. It’s kind of weird if you get scored high and you’re not grabbing your board, even? That’s a little crazy.”
Slopestyle qualifying begins in Sochi on Feb. 6.