Six years ago, Park City resident Colby Stevenson was lucky to be alive.

Now, he is an Olympic silver medalist.

In 2016, Stevenson fell asleep at the wheel while driving himself and a friend, who had broken his leg in a skiing contest, back from the competition. Stevenson was driving his friend's truck for him when Stevenson fell asleep at the wheel for a second, then overcorrected. The truck rolled six times, with the roof collapsing in on him.

The passenger, John Michael Fabriz, somehow escaped without injury.

Stevenson wasn’t so lucky.

The accident left him hospitalized and in severe condition.

He suffered 30 fractures in his skull. He broke vertebrae in his neck and broke ribs, parts of his jaw and eye socket. He had to have a craniotomy to fix his skull, along with other surgeries.

“It was six months of hell, basically,” Stevenson said in a video that ran on NBC during Tuesday’s skiing big air medal round at the 2022 Olympics.

Miraculously, Stevenson suffered no brain damage.

He was back skiing in six months.

Stevenson detailed how the crash changed his mindset.

“I shifted my focus from wanting to win to just being grateful for being able to travel and living life,” he said.

Since then, he’s become one of the best skiers in the world, winning the World Cup championship for slopestyle in 2021.

On Tuesday, the 24-year-old added an Olympic medal to his trophy case after winning the silver medal in the Olympic debut of big air.

In big air, athletes are given three runs to perform the best trick. The lowest score of those three runs is thrown away, and the highest two scores for each athlete is combined to determine the winners.

Stevenson started out slow, scoring a 34.75 on his first run, and it looked like it may not be his day.

He rebounded to put himself in position to win a medal with a 91.75.

On his third — and final — run, he nailed a switch double cork 1800 — rotating his body five full times with two flips — for a score of 91.25 to secure silver. His combined score was 183.00.

Norway’s Birk Ruud won gold with a combined score of 187.75, while Sweden’s Henrik Harlaut took bronze with a combined score of 181.00.

Utah residents Alex Hall and Mac Forehand also competed in the big air medal final, with Hall finishing in eighth place out of 12 competitors and Forehand finishing in 11th place.


Jessie Diggins is excited after winning a bronze medal
Jessie Diggins reacts after winning a bronze medal in the women’s sprint free cross-country skiing competition at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2022, in Zhangjiakou, China. | Aaron Favila, Associated Press

Jessie Diggins makes U.S. Olympic history

Jessie Diggins continues to make Olympic history.

In her third Olympic appearance, the former Westminster College student won bronze in the women’s cross-country individual sprint on Tuesday, becoming the first-ever American woman to win an individual cross-country medal at the Olympics.

At the 2018 Games, Diggins and teammate Kikkan Randall won the United States’ first cross-country gold medal, taking first place in the women’s team sprint.

“This really belongs to the whole team,” Diggins said Tuesday, per Team USA. “It’s taken so many years to get here, to have a U.S. woman win an individual medal, and that’s something that doesn’t happen alone, and it doesn’t happen without a lot of help.”

Down the stretch, Diggins separated herself enough from the four-women pack to cross the finish line of the 1.5-kilometer race with a time of 3:12.84, just ahead of Salt Lake City native Rosie Brennan, who had a time of 3:14.17 to finish fourth.

The 30-year-old Diggins didn’t know if she had won bronze for sure until she looked at the results on the board.

Then, it set in.

Sweden’s Jonna Sundling and Maja Dahlqvist won gold and silver, respectively. Sundling finished in a time of 3:09.68, and Dahlqvist crossed the finish line in a time of 3:12.56.

To get to the final, Diggins and Brennan had to get through a qualifying round. Next up, two hours and 30 minutes later, were the quarterfinal races.

Both Diggins and Brennan finished in the top two of their six-person quarterfinals, with the top two of each quarterfinal advancing to the semifinals just an hour later.

In the semifinals, both Diggins and Brennan were in the top six and qualified for the final.

In total, Diggins and Brennan skied four grueling races in the span of about four hours, .

“I was just in a lot of pain. It was a really challenging course, but I love that,” Diggins told NBC’s “Today” show. “My biggest goal was just to finish with nothing left.”


Casey Dawson of the United States competes in the men’s speedskating 1,500-meter race at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2022, in Beijing. | Ashley Landis, Associated Press

Speedskater Casey Dawson’s wild journey to Olympics

Park City native Casey Dawson, who tested positive for COVID-19 three weeks ago, couldn’t produce the required number of consecutive negative COVID-19 tests in time for the opening ceremony.

Finally, he was able to test negative four times in a row and was approved to fly to Beijing and compete in the Olympics. He arrived in Beijing about 11 hours before his race time on Tuesday, according to NBC News reporter Gadi Schwartz.

Dawson flew from Salt Lake City to Atlanta, then from Atlanta to Paris, and finally, from Paris to Beijing.

Dawson’s luggage didn’t arrive with him in Beijing.

Dawson ended up having to borrow skates from another athlete because his luggage didn’t arrive in time.

He finished in 28th place of out 29 competitors in the men’s 1,500-meter medal race with a time of 1:49.45, but considering all he went through just to get to Beijing, it was an accomplishment just to race in the Olympics.

“I mean, just being here is just amazing,” he said, per Yahoo Sports. “If I get my luggage or not, I’m still an Olympian.”


How other athletes with Utah ties did in Tuesday’s medal events

Luge — Women’s singles

Ashley Farquharson — Park City resident — 12th place out of 20 competitors.

Alpine skiing — Women’s slalom

Katie Hensien — Park City resident — 26th place out of 58 competitors.