For 22 years, the Winter X Games have been coming into living rooms. Each year is akin to a DJ Clue mixtape, highlighting athletes the masses haven’t seen yet but are destined for greatness.
This year, the X Games are in the unique position of serving two purposes: Highlighting some of Winter X’s best athletes and showcasing some of the young talent that could go home with Olympic gold in Korea in February. On top of that, this year’s iteration features more storylines than your average soap opera.
Most notably is the return of Mark McMorris. The 14-time medal winner is making his return from an injury that McMorris thought would prevent him from ever being able to ride a snowboard again. The Canadian-born McMorris ruptured his spleen and broke his jaw, pelvis, left arm, and ribs while attempting a trick in British Columbia last March.
McMorris is one of the most decorated athletes in X Games history, rivaling guys like Dave Mirra and Tony Hawk. He’s so good that his average finish is second place. Seeing as how he has managed to take home 14 medals, that’s a testament to his dominance. Whenever McMorris enters an event, rival snowboarders need to plan to see him on the podium because McMorris’ track record indicates he’s winning something.
However, for every great comeback story, there will always be plenty of upstarts hoping to play the role of spoiler. One participant hoping to take down McMorris is 18-year-old American snowboarder Chris Corning, who has spent his entire life watching the Winter X Games.