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Olympic debut for fast tracked aerialist

22 February 2010

Wednsday evening in Vancouver, David Morris will become just the second man to represent Australia at the Olympic Games in aerial skiing, a prospect that a little over 12 months ago seemed somewhat unlikely.

At the start of 2009, the former gymnast had not even competed in a World Cup competition, making his debut at the top level in Deer Valley at the end of January 2009.

Morris added just one more World Cup appearance and a visit to the World Championships in that 2008/09 season, and he comes to Vancouver2010 with a total of just eight World Cups under his belt.

But his development this season has been extraordinary.

The 25-year-old Melbourne skier has reached the final 12 three times this season, and recorded his first top ten placing – a ninth – in Deer Valley in the middle of January.

More importantly, he has added two new jumps to his repertoire.

Morris landed his first triple twisting triple somersault in Changchun, China, in December, then put down his first quad twisting triple at a NorAm competition in Mont Gabriel at the end of January, winning the event with a huge personal best of 242.82 points.

It has been an impressive improvement, but in reality, he has still not made it into the top echelon of jumpers, who regularly reel off two versions of quad twisting triples. Nor approached the stellar heights of a skier like current world number one Anton Kushnir.

The Belarussian has won four of the season’s six events and not missed the podium all year, scoring twice in the 260 plus range.

He will be the hot favourite for the event, but will face strong opposition from, of course, the Chinese team, who currently boast the number two and three in the world in Qi Guangpu and Jia Zongyang, as well as his Belarussians Alexei Grichin and Timofei Slivets.

Barry White
AOC – Cypress Mountain

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