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Morris's big finale still to come

17 February 2018

FREESTYLE SKIING: Sochi silver medalist David Morris has qualified for the men’s aerials final at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games.

Morris scored 124.89 for his second jump of the night, putting him into second place (of qualification 2) with four athletes still to complete their run and guaranteeing his final berth.

He already has eyes on Sunday night’s final and plans to deliver the high difficulty five-twist jump he has proudly mastered in a recent training camp in Ruka, Finland on the world stage.

“I’ve basically come here to do five twists and that’s my goal,” Morris said.

“I’m not after a medal as such and I know some people won’t like to hear that but five twists – a landed one – will get a medal.”

The trick, a double full - double full - full – best described as three flips and five twists – has only ever been performed by three other athletes with Morris eager to be the fourth.

“I’m here to perform that in front of a crowd, I’m going to hopefully get one done in practice … and hopefully make it through all the rounds and showcase it at the end and that will be awesome”

To ensure he can achieve that, Morris already has a plan underway.

“Recovery is key in this sport. If I can come out (in the final) fresher than everyone else out here because they didn’t recover properly or they were a bit more tired, that gives me a big advantage and just to be fresh in the brain, fresh in the body and come out and just get sendy again.”

Morris was thrilled with his execution of the back double full – full – full (a quad-twisting triple somersault) celebrating after completing the jump.

“(The jump) had to be big and straight and it was. We stepped up and went huge because there was no option to go small and sneak in with little mistakes,” he said.

“It was a huge relief to make it through qualifications, it’s the worst part of the competition.”

After finishing 15th in the first round of qualifying, the 2017 World Championship bronze medallist needed to produce an outstanding second jump in the repechage.

Starting 15th in a round of 19 athletes, Morris had seen the impressive scores of the rest of the field ahead of him, but managed to remain calm and focused on the task at hand.

I will be honest, I was watching the scores in the second one and I was honestly thinking that I didn’t have a chance,” he said.

“Because they’re fantastic jumps and that’s great and if I lost to fantastic jumps like that, I’d be totally fine with that.”

In the first round Morris, 33, performed a back full – double full – full and was awarded a score of 112.83.

However, in the high scoring qualifier it was not enough to secure him automatic entry to Sunday night’s final with only the top six progressing after one jump.

Leading round one of qualifiers was American Jonathon Lillis (127.44) and China’s Guangpu Qi (126.70) and Zongyan Jia (126.55).

In an upset, Belarusian Anton Kushnir – who is currently ranked third in the World Cup series – did not qualify for the final, finishing in 13th place overall.

The men’s aerials final will be held on Day 9 (February 18) at 8pm local time (10pm AEST).

Candice Keller

olympics.com.au

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