Colby Stevenson endured plenty of hardship to become an Olympic medalist.
Stevenson, 24, won the silver medal for Team USA in the men’s freestyle skiing big air competition at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics on Wednesday.
In May 2016, he was in a near-fatal car accident when he fell asleep at the wheel while driving along a highway in Idaho, resulting in more than 30 fractures in his skull. He would be placed in a medically-induced coma for three days.
“Recovery’s just a long road and you just got take it day by day and you learn to be grateful for the little things in life,” he told TODAY Wednesday about what he’s learned after his accident. “We get to take a shower or go on a hike or just being part of this planet, we’re so lucky to do that.”
Stevenson, who’s a first-time Olympian, crashed on his first run, but put on a show in his next two attempts, scoring a combined 183.00 points. In the event, a skier’s two best jumps are scored. Norway’s Birk Ruud won the gold medal.
Stevenson said his accident taught him the importance of following your dreams.
“After you have something so severe happen in your life or a severe injury like that, you just got to, it’s the only way to look at it is you’re just lucky to be alive and then when you get back to doing the thing you love the most, you’re just going to pursue it with even more passion than you had when you first started,” he said.
Stevenson's Olympics aren't over, either. He’ll compete later in the slopestyle event.
“So, yeah, it’s been a crazy road, just, yeah, through the roof right now with excitement,” he said. “And got another event next week, too, and it’s my favorite one, slopestyle, so, yeah, got a lot of momentum going into it and just can’t believe that my life has led up to this moment. It’s pretty wild.”
While he preps for that event, Stevenson can embrace the fact he's already won a silver medal.
“It’s still setting in right now,” he said. “Big air’s not my best event and to go out there and land the tricks that I had in mind and then come out with a medal is just out of this world.”