Canada’s McMorris returns to slopes with big air gold after devastating crash

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BEIJING — Regina’s Mark McMorris made his triumphant reutrn to the slopes on Saturday, winning gold in the men’s big air competition at the Beijing World Cup.

It was McMorris’s first competition since a harrowing accident in the backcountry near Whistler, B.C., eight months ago.

McMorris broke his jaw and left arm, ruptured his spleen, fractured his pelvis and ribs and suffered a collapsed left lung in March when he crashed into a tree.

But he showed no ill effects on Saturday, taking the top spot in his qualification heat with a score of 83.00. In the final, McMorris impressed the judges, performing a frontside triple cork 1440 mute and a backside triple cork 1440 indy to grab a combined score of 187.00.

New Zealand’s Tiarn Collins won silver and Norway’s Torgeir Bergrem was third.

McMorris’s victory is a step toward qualifying for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. He won slopestyle bronze at the Sochi Olympics in 2014.

Narrowly missing out on a spot in the final, Brooke Voigt of Fort McMurray, Alta., was the top Canadian female finisher in eighth. Winnipeg’s Gillian Andrewshenko was 11th.

The Canadian Press