McMorris clutch in slopestyle win for Winter X Games record 22nd medal
Go ahead and count them.
With his win Sunday in the men’s snowboard slopestyle final, Mark McMorris was able to break his tie with Jamie Anderson for the most Winter X Games medals ever won with 22 — and counting.
“That accolade is pretty special. I didn’t ever think that would be something that would come along with my name as a kid growing up in a small town in Canada,” said McMorris, who is from Regina, Saskatchewan. “Completely thrilled but mostly just thrilled with the way I was able to ride today and rise to the occasion. Wasn’t really just a given. It wasn’t a victory lap. It was under the pressure, and it feels better when it’s like that.”
McMorris, the last rider to compete, had already secured at least silver prior to dropping in for his final run. He had been in first only moments earlier before Norway’s Marcus Kleveland leapfrogged him and took over the top spot with his electric final run.
The medal record was already in the bag, but McMorris has always been more of a gold medal sort of rider.
“I didn’t even have time to think about it,” he said. “I wasn’t even watching the TV. I was pretty much strapped in, and then no one even told me he went into first, but I was pretty damn sure just by the reactions everyone had that he was in first. I was going to, regardless, go for that run.”
His final run, which included back-to-back 1620s on his final two jumps, proved to be enough to jump him back ahead of Kleveland at the buzzer. The two shared a hug and watched the monitor side by side from the bottom of the course while they waited for the results to be posted.
McMorris, 29, actually had the Winter X Games medal record for a few hours last year before Anderson’s medal later than night brought her up to 21, as well. Anderson — the 32-year-old Tahoe rider who, like McMorris, competes in slopestyle and big air snowboarding — did not compete at X Games this year due to her pregnancy. Two years ago, McMorris had to miss X Games after getting COVID-19, allowing Anderson to win a couple of medals without him.
He said the two don’t talk about the records until it’s brought up around X Games.
“Now it feels real. I got it. I had COVID in 2021, and I couldn’t come, and she got a couple, and then, obviously, she is about to give birth, so congratulations to her there. I’m sure she’ll be back for more next year,” he said. “Obviously, it would be nice to take a victory lap, but people don’t really remember victory laps. They remember the clutch performances. When it does happen like it did today, it feels so damn special.”
While the win gives McMorris the most Winter X Games medals ever — a record long held by Shaun White, who had 18 — he’s still got work to do to catch the X Games greats from the summer event.
Skateboard legend Bob Burnquist is credited with the most, having won 30 medals over his career. However, McMorris did match skateboard icon Tony Hawk with his 11th X Games gold medal. McMorris is still chasing White on that front, as he finished his career with 13 Winter X Games golds — not to mention the others he won at the summer event in skateboarding.
“I was on my way home from Switzerland at the start of this week, and I got to watch ‘Until the Wheels Fall Off,’ his doc. It’s on HBO right now. And I learned a lot about him,” McMorris said of matching Tony Hawk’s gold-medal count. “I knew pretty well everything about Tony Hawk, I thought, but just to hear his story and hear that is so special. The impact he’s had on action sports as a whole and to even be in the category with Tony is amazing. He’s became somewhat of a friend over the years, so it’s pretty cool to share that with him.”
For Kleveland, who won big air gold on Saturday night, his runner-up finish on Sunday was his fifth silver medal and 12th overall at X Games. He’s won gold five times. That became six a few hours later, as Kleveland also won Sunday night’s knuckle huck contest, his second Aspen win in the discipline he inspired.
Norway’s Mons Roisland won slopestyle bronze on Sunday, while Silverthorne’s Red Gerard just missed the podium in fourth place.