February 13, 2018 7:00 am
Updated: February 26, 2018 2:57 pm

Rick Zamperin: Medals are amazing but the journey makes a true champion

Laurie Blouin of Canada competes at the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics.

REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

What makes the Olympics, the Olympics?

Sure, the quest for gold, silver and bronze medals is always going to be the biggest lure for athletes, coaches and us sports fans.

Watching an athlete win their event, reach the podium or achieve a personal best is always special.

But, for me at least, learning about how some of these athletes achieved success after being at — or near — rock bottom is the icing on the cake.

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Snowboard stars Mark McMorris and Laurie Blouin, hockey player Wojtek Wolski, and moguls skier Philippe Marquis are perfect examples.

McMorris suffered a near-fatal crash last March while snowboarding in the B.C. backcountry but won the bronze in men’s slopestyle.

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Blessed is an understatement

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Blouin, sporting a black eye after a crash in training just a few days ago, took the silver medal in a wind-whipped final of the women’s slopestyle.

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In October 2016, Wolski was stretchered off the ice after suffering two fractured vertebrae during a game in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL).

Over the weekend, he scored a goal in Canada’s 4-1 win over Sweden in a pre-Olympic hockey exhibition game.

And Marquis suffered a torn ACL in his right knee a month before the Pyeongchang Games but was still named to Team Canada and was basically skiing on one leg when he crashed in the opening round.

The medals are amazing, but it’s the journey that makes a true champion.

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