(Reuters) - Canadian snowboarder Mark McMorris, who is recovering in hospital from injuries sustained in an off-piste accident, received good news on Tuesday when he was provisionally nominated to Canada's 2018 Olympic team.
McMorris, a bronze medalist in slopestyle at the Sochi Olympics, suffered a fractured jaw and left arm, ruptured spleen, a stable pelvic fracture, rib fractures and a collapsed left lung on Saturday and was airlifted to Vancouver General Hospital where he underwent several surgeries.
The 23-year-old, who is expected to be a gold medal contender at the Pyeongchang Winter Games in both slopestyle and the newest Olympic event Big Air, will have to recover from his injuries and meet a minimum performance criterion at an eligible event during the 2017-18 competition season.
Patrick Jarvis, Canada Snowboard’s executive director, said he expects McMorris will be ready to make a comeback to competition leading into Pyeongchang.
"We fully support Mark and he is already under the incredible care of the staff of the Vancouver General Hospital.” Jarvis said in a statement.
"Mark has shown incredible resilience and commitment to recovering from injury and we know that Pyeongchang 2018 will be a strong motivation for his comeback.”
McMorris dominated his events last season, capturing Crystal Globes as discipline champion in both Big Air and the overall Freestyle title.
(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto, editing by Ed Osmond)