TORONTO – An Olympic medal, 10 Winter X Games medals, a TV show and a documentary, a restaurant in Toronto’s trendy entertainment district, a cool clothing company and a gorgeous surfer girlfriend. What more could a 21-year-old want?
Mark McMorris has already accomplished more than many athletes achieve over the course of a career. The star snowboarder has his hands in more creative endeavours than some entrepreneurs could hope for in a lifetime.
The way McMorris tells it, it’s just a matter of grabbing the world by the tail while it’s in reach.
“I think it’s just because I have such a good thing at my fingertips right now with everything that’s going for me, it’s sort of taught me to grow up fast, because our lifestyle, doing this doesn’t last as long as say somebody that’s going to go and work a job after college,” McMorris said.
“I’ve been grinding as hard as I can since I was 15 so that I can chill when I’m all done,” he added with a laugh.
McMorris won’t be done any time soon. The Regina native was in Toronto on Tuesday to attend the Canadian Screen Awards. He and brother Craig were up for three awards for their MTV series “McMorris & McMorris.” They were also presenting a couple of awards – Mark was excited about the “pretty flashy” outfit his stylist had picked out for him.
Life has picked up since the athlete with the shaggy hair and goofy grin captured Canada’s first medal at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, a bronze in slopestyle. If he was famous before with extreme sports fans, he’s big time now in Canada’s public consciousness. Just days after his gutsy performance in Sochi – he made the podium despite having a broken rib – he sat courtside at a Toronto Raptors game, and was warmly received with a standing ovation that he called “pretty special.”
“(Life) has definitely changed, in the positive sense that now most (Canadians) know me, it’s not just people who are into sports or action sports, everybody watched the Olympics and a lot of people know what I do,” he said.
“And it was such a positive experience, winning Canada’s first medal, my brother calling it (for the television broadcast), and the success we’ve had around it, with the TV show and my documentary, and the X Games … I’m just happy we’re having positive things happening and kids are stoked, and people are being motivated by it.”
McMorris picked up two more gold medals at the X Games last month. Always one to push the snowboarding envelope, he unleashed a frontside triple cork 1440 and backside triple cork 1620 to claim the big air title.
He has more tricks up his sleeve, but it’s “sort of on the down low,” he said in an interview Tuesday. “Hopefully you don’t tell all my competitors.”
Perhaps he’ll save them for the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, where he has “unfinished business” and will be gunning for gold.
When he’s not on the slopes, he’s a part owner of AWSM, a company that designs sports clothing and accessories. He and his brother are part owners of the Queen Street Warehouse, a downtown Toronto restaurant. He’s working on a 30-40 minute documentary that will premier in the fall.
“(It’s) based on just one season, in the life, with friends, and different destinations and trying to cover all different aspects of snowboarding, not just the competition, not just the back country, but trying to get a bit of everything in, and even everything in between, the media tours, the CSAs tonight, everything,” McMorris said.
He’s also one-half of one of sport’s cutest supercouples. His Hawaiian girlfriend Coco Ho is one of the world’s top surfers. Combined, the two have almost a quarter of a million Twitter followers – he has 166,000, she has 72,200.
McMorris has one more competition this season, the U.S. Open in Vail, Colo., and then it will be time to “defrost and decompress.”
“I’m always sort of travelling, but I like to spend my time out of the snow when I get the chance to . . . and get remotivated to go do it all again, every single year,” he said.
“There’s always new opportunities every year, new things. But I love to spend my time skateboarding or surfing or just hanging out with friends. Once you travel as much as I do, you become somewhat addicted to travelling as well. I’m always travelling, going somewhere with somebody, or doing this. Very blessed.”