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An Interview with Mark McMorris: U of R Virtual President’s Breakfast Speaker Profile

By University Advancement and Communications Posted: March 12, 2021 6:00 a.m.

Regina-born snowboarder Mark McMorris is one of three speakers at this year’s U of R Virtual President’s Breakfast for Athletics. The March 23 event will raise critical funds for U of R student athletes.
Regina-born snowboarder Mark McMorris is one of three speakers at this year’s U of R Virtual President’s Breakfast for Athletics. The March 23 event will raise critical funds for U of R student athletes. Photo courtesy of Mark McMorris

For the past 11 years, friends of the University have come together to hear from the biggest names in sports and to support our student athletes. On March 23, that tradition will continue with the first Virtual President’s Breakfast for Athletics.

The new virtual format has allowed for even bigger names and promises to be the best President’s Breakfast for Athletics yet.
 
Regina’s own Mark McMorris, one of the most decorated athletes in snowboarding history, will be one of the event’s three speakers. His long list of accomplishments include winning two Olympic medals, 20 X Games medals, and four US Open Championships. As a symbol of resiliency, McMorris has defied the odds to become one of the top athletes in the world.

We caught up with the Regina-born snowboarder to learn more about his career and passion for supporting young people in sports.
 
How does someone from Saskatchewan become an elite snowboarder?

I’m still trying to figure that out! You don’t need a big mountain to learn the fundamentals of snowboarding. My brother (fellow professional snowboarder, Craig McMorris) and I had the passion and drive for it, and supportive parents. Team Saskatchewan also allowed us to gain experience snowboarding in the mountains.

Snowboarding has taken you all over the world. What are some of the differences between places you have competed?
 
Anytime we go across the world, it’s always an interesting cultural experience. You go somewhere like Switzerland and stay in five-star hotels, and in Japan its a little shoebox room. Competing in North America, you get to eat at amazing restaurants. At the biggest sporting event in the world – the Olympics – you eat at a cafeteria with 400 other athletes. It’s all so neat to experience and makes you appreciate what you have when you get back home.

How often do you get back to Regina?
 
I try to come home three to four times a year and I love it! I always miss my friends, the positive attitudes, and how much everyone there likes to have a good time.
 
You and your brother started the McMorris Foundation to create a more accessible sport culture in Canada. What was the motivation to start the Foundation?

Growing up, we had the opportunity to play any stick-and-ball sport we dreamed of. I feel like that shaped who we are today. Sports teach you so many skills other than the sport itself, and every kid should have that opportunity. We wanted to give all kids in Saskatchewan the same opportunities that we had.

Why are events that support young people in sports like the President’s Breakfast for Athletics so important?
 
Kids from Saskatchewan are so talented and need financial support to succeed. That is why these events are so important. We need to support in any way we can, and if there is anything I can do to help, I’m always trying to step up and do so.
 
What can attendees of the President’s Breakfast for Athletics look forward to hearing from you about?

My talk will focus on some trials and tribulations and the success that have come from them. I’ll tell some stories from along the road and share some of my future endeavors.
 
What are your goals for the next year?
 
The main goal right now is getting my spot on Canada’s Olympic team. I’m trying to stay healthy, stay strong, and keep inspiring the youth!

Tickets for the Virtual President’s Breakfast for Athletics are available now for $75 until March 16. All proceeds go towards U of R Athletics scholarships and program enhancement. The Office of the President will match all funds up to $100,000.
 
Joining McMorris at the event are two of hockey’s biggest personalities, Brian Burke and Kevin Bieksa. Burke is a former Hockey Night in Canada co-host and current President of Hockey Operations for the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins. Bieksa is a longtime NHL defenseman and current co-host of Hockey Night in Canada. CTV Regina’s Claire Hanna will emcee the event and lead an interview with Burke and Bieksa.

Please consider attending and providing critical support to our gifted U of R student athletes. Faculty and staff can use their APEA funds to buy tickets.
 
Learn more about the Virtual President’s Breakfast for Athletics and purchase your tickets today!