Australian Olympic history was written at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics when David Morris became the first Australian male to win an Olympic aerials medal.
Morris, who briefly walked away from the sport several years before, arrived in Sochi as a medal chance but perhaps not with the lofty credentials of his Chinese and Belarusian rivals, which contributed to the special nature of the 29-year-old’s medal. Morris was the first to jump in the four-man super-final, doing a double-Full Full-Full (quad twisting somersault) to score 110.41. While he remained cool and focused under pressure, upon completion of the jump Morris fell to the ground in elation as his family in the stands erupted in celebration.
Three-time Olympian Anton Kushnir from Belarus went for the highest scoring jump possible – the Back Double Full-Full-Double Full (five twisting somersault) – to score an incredible 134.50 and take gold. Reigning World Champion Qi Guangpu of China and his teammate Jia Zongyang both failed to beat Morris’ score, meaning the exuberant young Aussie would take silver. Morris’ friend and training partner Lydia Lassila took bronze in the women’s aerials, meaning the pair became the first male and female medal combination for any Australian Olympic Winter Team.
Morris also competed at the Vancouver 2010 Games. He was introduced to Aerial Skiing in 2004 after meeting Aerials World Champion Kirstie Marshall at a Gymnastics display. In 2006, he became the sole male member of the Australian Aerials team - the first in 10 years. With a background in Gymnastics and Skiing, Morris took to the sport immediately and competed in his first international competition in 2007. At the Vancouver Games, Morris punched above his weight, executing two outstanding jumps in qualification to produce a combined scored of 221.02 from his triple twisting triple somersault and his new quadruple trick. His score placed him 13th, missing the 12-man final by 0.89 of a point.