We were strapped into our couches, anticipating our best shot yet at a gold medal. We’d just eaten a dinner with green and gold veggies (sweetcorn and broccoli), donned our favourite Aussie t-shirts (we all did this, right?), turned on the telly and… nuffin.
There was a snowboard cross course there somewhere. We just couldn’t see it through the Sochi fog. More importantly, there was Buckley’s of seeing the racers stack it. Which is half the fun of SBX.
The event postponed, we had to put our medal hopes on hold for another day. Or did we?
Enter David Morris, Australia’s quiet achiever. When Dave first took up the sport of aerial freestyle, he was told he wouldn’t be any good at it. A few hours ago, he made whoever told him that eat their words.
The signs were not brilliant coming into the event. Dave’s final training session was an absolute shocker and he’d never made it to the final four showdown before. But it all came together on the day.
There is a good amount of strategy to an aerials contest. Athletes aren’t allowed to do the same jump twice, so have to plan ahead which tricks they will need to progress through each stage of the competition. Dave kept it simple in the opening round, saving his more difficult tricks in case he progressed to the super final.
Progress he did and, jumping first, landed a trick he barely even practises in training. It’s called, originally enough, a double-Full Full-Full, and Davo nailed it. His broad smile showing his green and gold mouthguard to great effect, Dave went for the multiple fist pumps and rolled in the snow in disbelief.
Then he had to wait. We all did. The next jumper from Belarus pulled out a monster jump and got himself a monster score to take the lead. Next, China’s reigning world champ landed on his bum. The final Chinese jumper threw in a forward somersault on landing, leaving Dave holding the silver medal.
So Davo becomes our first medallist in men’s aerials. Not bad for a bloke with a fear of heights. He takes our Sochi medal haul to three — two silvers and a bronze. And tonight, Chumpy Pullin may grab us that elusive gold in the snowboard cross.
They said it
“I felt like crying, I felt like throwing up.” Silver medallist David Morris on landing his final jump
“It was the performance of a lifetime.” Fellow aerials medallist Lydia Lassila was going nuts in the crowd after Dave Morris’ jump
“We were stressed out of our minds.” Dave Morris’ dad
“I know I’m not the best jumper out here but I consistently land.” That’s a great skill to have, Dave Morris
“Phil, buddy, this is for you, you bastard, I hope you are proud.’’ Cate Blanchett dedicates her BAFTA Best Actress award to Philip Seymour Hoffman