Winter Olympics: Australia’s David Morris reveals the emotions of landing the most difficult jump in aerials
Australian aerials star David Morris has opened up about the new weapon in his arsenal for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, the toughest jump in the sport which he has just landed in training for the first time.
Speaking to the media two days out from the start of the Winter Games, Morris went into detail about the five-twist, three-somersault jump he completed at the aerials team’s training camp in Finland — and the stress he had to go through to achieve it.
“I nailed it last week,” he said.
“We turned up one day, and the weather was fantastic — it was no wind, blue skies and my coach was just like, ‘we’re doing it today’, and I was like, ‘all right, then’.”
Morris said he built up to the big moment, but it almost got too much for him.
“I was at the top, having a mental breakdown — I think I was borderline about to cry and question my life decisions and whether it was actually worth skiing down and trying this skill (jump).
“Then Lydia (Lassila, who won gold for Australia in women’s aerials in Vancouver in 2010) came up and we had a moment. I went ,’hold me!'”
At this point Lassila chimed in at the press conference, saying: “I held him — for quite some time!”
At the media’s urging, he then recreated the jump for the cameras — without the assistance of a ramp or snow.
“Coming into the jump, I’m kind of shaking like this,” he said with his hands above his head, trembling.
“Then I come off the jump, switch into a double twist, I’m spinning around, spinning around,” he added, acting out the spins that he does high in the air.
“I go to the second one (double), close my eyes thinking ‘please, please’, then a little bit further — I see the ground here and [I go] ‘ugh, God’ [as I land].”
Morris admitted that he sees “nothing, nothing” while he’s doing the jump.
“It happens in less than three seconds, I honestly do close my eyes the entire time until I hit the ground, so it’s a bit of a surprise!” he said.
“There’s no point in looking, you see the skyline [but] that’s not what I want to look at.”
Breakthrough four years in the making
The genesis of this breakthrough came four years ago in Sochi, when Morris qualified for the four-man final and then nailed his final jump, a four-twist, triple somersault.
Three other competitors attempted a five-twist, triple somersault — two failed the landing but one, Anton Kushnir of Belarus, nailed his jump to win the gold medal.