Two-time Olympic snowboard medalist and nine-time X Games gold medalist Mark McMorris will miss this weekend's X Games Aspen after testing positive for COVID-19.
One of the most popular athletes in the sport and the most decorated winter athlete in X Games history, McMorris tested positive on Friday after returning home from the Laax Open FIS Snowboard Slopestyle and Halfpipe World Cup in Switzerland, where he planned to compete in slopestyle.
A native of Regina, Saskatchewan, McMorris competes for Canada but currently resides in Encinitas, California. While in Laax, two members of Canada's snowboard delegation tested positive for the virus, which forced the entire Canadian men's slopestyle team, McMorris included, into isolation and caused them to miss the event, which has qualifying implications for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.
Nine members of the U.S. slopestyle team were also forced into quarantine and out of the Laax Open after two athletes tested positive at the Austrian Big Air World Cup, which preceded the Laax Open.
McMorris tested negative while in Switzerland and was not deemed to be in close contact with those who tested positive. Following his return to California, McMorris was retested on Friday and learned of his positive result the same day. He took a secondary test on Friday to confirm the results and received confirmation of his second positive test on Sunday.
As a condition to compete at X Games Aspen, which takes place at Buttermilk Mountain from Jan. 29 to 31, athletes are required to provide a negative test within 72 hours of travel in order to be compliant with Pitkin County's affidavit requirement. Participants must again test negative upon arrival to the X Games venue.
After receiving his initial positive test, McMorris began self-isolating at his home in Encinitas and informed X Games organizers on Monday that he is withdrawing from the event. He currently is experiencing no symptoms.
"I'm definitely going to miss competing at my favorite event," McMorris said in a statement to ESPN. "I'm sending good vibes to all the riders and to the organizers who worked so hard to create a safe environment for everyone to compete under such difficult circumstances."