Why Max Parrot wasn't afraid to risk it all at the Olympics

GANGNEUNG, South Korea — Imagine being in a situation where you were willing to risk winning multiple medals at the Olympics just because you wanted to challenge yourself? That’s the scenario Canadian snowboard star Max Parrot found himself in Saturday, when the high-flying trickster made a split-second all-for-nothing decision before his final run in the inaugural big air event.

The scene at Alpensia Ski Jumping Centre was exactly what you’d expect from a primetime Olympic snowboarding event – loud music, energized fans, and ridiculous air time. Parrot, the 2018 silver medallist in slopestyle, was in solid position heading into his final jump to get on the podium.

His teammate and eventual gold-medal winner Sebastien Toutant was pacing the field, but Parrot’s first jump was strong enough to put him in striking distance of first place. With most of the competition already out of contention, Parrot, the second-last jumper, decided to bust out an awe-inspiring switch triple-cork 1800. He would later share with us that it was a jump he’s made several times in practice, but on this day he couldn’t stick the landing and fell out of podium contention.

We found Parrot’s decision to go for the complex trick fascinating, mostly because it seemed as if he already had a podium finish locked up. The X Games legend explained to us that a silver or bronze simply wasn’t good enough, and so he resisted a last-second urge at the top of the hill to go for an easier trick that would have given him a second piece of hardware in PyeongChang.

Parrot further revealed his thought process behind the all-in move in a candid interview with us on the final day of the Olympics. He had told us in June during the Olympic summit in Calgary that he had been working with a sports pyschologist and it was clear while chatting Sunday that he was not only at peace with his decision, but that he was in complete control of the mental warfare elite athletes so often deal with. Check out the interview in the video above.

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