It was a tough pill for snowboard slopestyle and big air athlete Tiarn Collins to swallow.
Just days away from competing in his first Winter Olympic Games, the big air and slopestyle athlete dislocated his shoulder in a training accident at the Olympic venue, ruling him out of the biggest competition of his life.
“It was pretty rough,” says Collins.
“The hardest part was dealing with the actual injury because your shoulders are pretty useful and I had to go through two surgeries.
“That resulted in a lot of time at home thinking and reflecting, but it made me even more convinced that what I want to do is snowboarding.”
Almost four years later and Collins is eyeing redemption as he works towards qualification and selection for the Beijing Winter Olympic Games, to be held from February 4-20, 2022.
The 22-year-old has just wrapped a New Zealand season spent training on the slopestyle course at Cardrona Alpine Resort. He’s now headed to Europe where he’s preparing to compete on the World Cup circuit.
“This is round two. Beijing is a huge goal for me. I really want to make it there and do as well as I can. I've been doing everything I can to get ready for that.”
Last year Collins proved he still has what it takes at the top level, claiming his first ever World Cup gold medal, winning the men’s slopestyle division in Calgary.
“I feel like I’m back now, finally. That win really meant a lot to me.”
He says he’s loving being back on the mountain and hopes he gets the chance to show what he can do in Beijing.
“Whenever I'm snowboarding or at the skate park, it’s where I feel like I’m at home. I just love the freedom of just being able to go out there and express myself through my riding. I love going fast and trying to do different tricks, it’s a pretty special feeling.”