By Michael MacLeod
THE parents of world class Scots skier say they were worried he might die during a gruelling TV gameshow.
Winter Olympics hopeful Angus Morison is putting himself through a series of punishing TV survival challenges – as a tribute to his boyhood friend, the tragic rally driving champ Colin McRae.
Angus, 27, from Lesmahagow, is now focussed on making his name as the nation’s first ever Skier-X Olympic champion when the sport makes its debut at the Vancouver games in winter 2010.
Gutsy ‘Gus, 27, has already come close to death during filming of the brutal Unbreakable challenge on channel Five after being buried up to his neck for over an hour in the deadly heat of the Sahara desert.
And last night viewers saw him survive drowning, torture and speeding bullets during a punishing regime by US Navy Seals in Virginia Beach.
Back home in Lesmahagow, South Lanarkshire, the superfit Scot’s parents Belinda and Douglas agonised as they watched his weight plummet throughout the series.
Angus’ mum, a former ski instructor, said she had concerns when she saw the dangerous challenges pushing her boy to his very limits.
She said: “One of the main things that stunned us was Angus lost a lot of weight during Unbreakable.
“It had me on the edge of my seat with excitement but also worry for my son because the living conditions were very hardcore.
“The dehydration in the desert can kill you, but luckily Angus is a very fit young man and his girlfriend is a dietician so keeps him healthy.
“You’re pleased he achieves each goal but then there’s always more. Now we really hope he gets to the next Olympics.”
The superfit Scot had to be put on a drip and carefully monitored by a doctor as he recovered from the desert ordeal.
During that treatment he paid an emotional tribute to racing legend McRae, who was killed with his young son in a helicopter crash last year.
Close to tears, he said: “Colin was a really good friend of mine and sportingly he was amazing – just sheer natural talent.
“When I was growing up he would play with me and my older brothers and he was just one of the lads, we’d always have a laugh together.
“Now he’s an inspiration and we all miss Colin a lot.
“He flew the flag strongly for Scotland so I think he’d like to see me doing the same thing.”
Arguably the most athletic of the Unbreakables, Angus didn’t even have to train for the show, as skiing keeps him at a constant peak performance.
Speaking from his training base in Verbier, Switzerland, gutsy ‘Gus admitted he was “naive” to enter the merciless gameshow without knowing how harsh it would be.
He said: “I wasn’t really that nervous – I was maybe more naive because I thought we were going to be doing fitness tests and didn’t really think they would push us as hard as they did.
“People dropped out when it became too tough, but it’s not about breaking yourself, more about finding your limit and trying to break through that.
“There were quite a few times I thought I couldn’t go further but somehow found extra within.
“The mentality has to be to ask yourself what’s the worst that can happen, then go flat out.”
The Unbreakable show has the slogan, ‘Pain is glory, pain is price’ and tasks include, tackling deadly snakes, crocodiles and piranha fish, surviving conditions varying from the Amazon jungle, in the glacial conditions of Norway to the desert of North Africa.
The last person standing doesn’t even get a prize, other than their pride.
The closest Angus came to breaking was during an emotional reminiscing of his good friend McRae.
But he’s sworn to secrecy over whether he survives the full show.
He added: “All I can say is it gets a lot tougher and a lot more exciting.
“But I’d do it all again, through choice, because it was such an awesome experience.”
A Five spokesman said: “Angus’ dedication to Colin McRae was one of the most touching moments in the series, showing he has heart in every sense.
“Angus is a shining example of what can be achieved with hard work and training.
“His involvement in the series has been phenomenal and you’ll see if he lasts the pace in the remaining episodes.
“Each contributor that put themselves into the firing line for Unbreabkable needed to be at the top of their game both mentally and physically.”