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Sochi Winter Olympics: David Morris wins silver in men's aerials

Date

Chief Sports Writer, The Sydney Morning Herald

View more articles from Andrew Webster

Time to celebrate: David Morris won a silver medal.

Time to celebrate: David Morris won a silver medal. Photo: AP

David Morris walked into the party at Rosa Khutor not so much like he was stepping onto a yacht as a down-to-earth Australian who had just become a silver medallist.

And he was still wearing his yellow ski boots.

I’ve seen this before in my dreams. I’m not sure if this is happening’. I wanted to cry, I wanted to spew. I nearly had a breakdown. I can’t describe how good it is. 

The party at the Golden Tulip hotel had been thrown to celebrate snowboarder Torah Bright’s silver medal in the halfpipe last week. It was heaving as Morris became the first Australian man to claim a medal in aerials, with Australian team members and supporters crowded around large televisions around the bar.

Australia's David Morris bagged silver in the men's aerials.

Australia's David Morris bagged silver in the men's aerials. Photo: Reuters

When Morris walked in well after midnight, the place erupted.

“I’ve still got my boots on,” Morris laughed. “I’m pretty classy, huh?”

Amid all the complaining about funding and the courses comes the story of these Winter Olympics, from an Australian perspective.

For years, the Olympic Winter Institute of Sport rejected Morris repeatedly whenever he asked for a scholarship, believing he wasn’t good enough.

He was a lone male wolf in the sport, which is dominated by women in Australia. Kirstie Marshall. Jacqui Cooper. Alisa Camplin. Lydia Lassila. David Morris?

He finished 13th in Vancouver four years ago, then walked away from the sport for a year, but came back to compete in Sochi.

“When I started I was rejected because I had very little thin legs,” he said. “I wasn’t a good enough skier, I wouldn’t be good enough to do triple flips, and now I have a silver medal, so . . .”

Lassila, a gold and bronze medallist, slipped him a note on the morning of his event.

“She wrote me a little note with some inspiring words of wisdom and I took them into the competition,” he said. “I stayed in the moment and didn’t think too much. I ended up in the super final and doing a jump I haven’t done too many times. And then I landed it.”

That jump was the quad-twisting triple somersault. What did Lassila tell him?

“Stay in the moment,” Morris said. “There was a bit at the end, which was quite touching. You have to sacrifice a bit now to become the best that you can become. Going into that last jump I was prepared to come fourth. I was prepared to lose in order to try for the win. I threw the cat out the window, basically. The ground came up and I was on my feet.

“We strategically did the easy jump earlier so we had the big jump at the end. I landed it and I got to the end and I was like, 'I’ve seen this before in my dreams. I’m not sure if this is happening’. I wanted to cry, I wanted to spew. I nearly had a breakdown. I can’t describe how good it is.”

Whatever outcome I will be pleased that I have come this far. @AUSOlympicTeam nothing to prove #auswintersports pic.twitter.com/vsSljWVt6e

Morris’s parents, Shane and Margaret, and his brother Peter, were on hand to watch him land the jump that secured silver, and were by his side at the after-party later in the evening.

“I watch every jump,” said Shane. “And I watch it through the air, trying to analyse it, but just hoping he is going to land.”
Said Morris: “That’s lucky, because I close my eyes.”

So what now for the 29-year-old?

“First I need to find a girlfriend,” he said. “That’d be good. I’ll probably go into teaching. I graduated from university in that. I want to be a stunt man. I don’t think I’ll keep going. My body hates me. I’d be happy to leave with that.”

How about a shot of Russian vodka, then?

“I’ll take a shot I guess,” he laughed.

He then joined the rest of the party, which was suddenly in his honour, still wearing his yellow ski boots.

32 comments so far

  • This is an absolutely fantastic achievement, it is a real shame The Age doesnt think it is worthy enough to place it at the top of its log in page as a great moment in australian sport and one worthy of singing from the rooftops.

    Commenter
    charles
    Location
    melbourne
    Date and time
    February 18, 2014, 8:32AM
    • Agreed. Great effort and more newsworthy than the cricket.

      Commenter
      W
      Date and time
      February 18, 2014, 9:02AM
    • I agree - we should all be very proud of every athlete competing and this should be a very proud moment! Awesome work David!

      Commenter
      J
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      February 18, 2014, 9:10AM
    • I agree! Why isn't it one of our top news item - shame Age shame. Congratulations David!

      Commenter
      I agree
      Location
      melbourne
      Date and time
      February 18, 2014, 9:30AM
    • Probably because no matter where the story had been placed somebody would have had a whinge.

      Commenter
      Danno
      Location
      Brisbane
      Date and time
      February 18, 2014, 10:51AM
  • Incredible achievement David, congratulations. I totally agree with Charles. Whats up here, normally we Australian's are great at celebrating our sons & daughters achievements.

    Commenter
    RobbieG
    Date and time
    February 18, 2014, 9:19AM
    • And to think David Morris had to convince the AOC to back him for the Olympics. He kept training and working towards these games and at the eleventh hour, he finally got financial and AOC support. It's disappointing that the media coverage has not been equal across all our amazing athletes at Sochi.

      Commenter
      Ling J
      Date and time
      February 18, 2014, 9:26AM
      • Too much focus on Torah Bright and her silly shimmy dance. I didn't even know he was competing until I turned on the TV this morning and heard he got a silver.

        Commenter
        Sarah of Carnegie
        Date and time
        February 18, 2014, 11:20AM
    • They recruit divers and gymnasts to do this "snow sport". I rate it marginally above syncronised swimming in seriousness. Please IOC, I know its the only way Australia can get winter medals consistently, but no more egg-and-spoon events!!

      Commenter
      gawdhelpus
      Date and time
      February 18, 2014, 9:36AM
      • Congratulations, you managed to insult two extremely difficult and technical sports in the one comment.

        Commenter
        blu
        Location
        Geelong
        Date and time
        February 18, 2014, 10:50AM

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