(Transcript from World News Australia Radio)
Victorian David Morris was not among the favourites in the men’s aerial skiing, but he held his nerve and landed his jumps when others didn’t.
Murray Silby has the details.
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David Morris’s silver in the men’s aerials competition has secured Australia’s third medal at the Winter Olympics in Sochi.
It follows his aerials teammate Lydia Lassila taking bronze in the women’s event on Friday and Torah Bright’s silver in the snowboard halfpipe last week.
It is the first medal at a winter Olympics for Australia in the men’s aerials.
Morris has told Channel 10 he did not expect to win a medal and the realisation that he has done it is overwhelming.
“I felt like crying. I felt like throwing up. And it’s just … you know, when I started the sport, I was told I wasn’t going to be good. Like, ‘I don’t think you’ll be good at this sport.’ And now I’ve got a silver medal at the Olympics, so it’s like, ‘There it is, everyone.’ I knew I was going to be good from the start, and there’s the proof, so no-one can take that away from me, ever. It’s in the history books. So, it’s amazing. It’ll sink in later. I’ll get uber-excited and then just crash, I’m sure, but it’s … oh, my gosh, it’s crazy.”
Morris says he understood there were better jumpers in the field who could do more difficult jumps, but those tricks carried more risk.
So he says he concentrated on completing his jumps well and making sure he made his landings.
“The field that was here today is an incredible field. You saw the quality of the jumps, and some of these guys just got quite unlucky. If people had done their best jumps today, there’s no way I would have come second. I know that I’m not the best jumper out here. I consistently land, though. And that is always up there with people in the top 10, and top eight, and, today, top four and second.”
Morris’s bronze medal-winning aerials team-mate Lydia Lassila, who also won gold in Vancouver four years ago, says she always had faith the 29-year-old could medal.
“I definitely believe in Dave all the way. Always have. He’s a huge talent, and he’s just kept plodding along and pushing himself the whole time throughout his whole career despite not, perhaps, getting as much support as us female athletes in the aerial-skiing teams. So now, he’s up there. He’s right up there, and had an amazing performance, and I just love him.”
Anton Kushnir, from Belarus, won the gold with a score of 134.50.
Morris was second on 110.41, and China’s Zongyan Jia took the bronze with 95.06.
The women’s biathlon provided Belarussians with more cause to celebrate, thanks to Darya Domracheva’s win in the 12.5-kilometre mass-start race.
The victory gave Domracheva an unprecedented hat-trick of Olympic gold medals at these Games, having also won the pursuit and individual race last week.
Gabriela Soukalova, of the Czech Republic, won the silver and Tiril Eckhoff, of Norway, the bronze.
Thick fog on Day 10 has led to some events scheduled for the mountains around Sochi being postponed.
That included the men’s snowboard cross competition, featuring Australia’s gold-medal favourite Alex “Chumpy” Pullin.
Organisers have decided to reschedule the event for this evening, Australian time — Tuesday morning, Sochi time — and the event’s format will also be shortened.
The fog reduced sight to a minimum on the cross course, which includes a number of large jumps.
Ryan Taylor, from the sport’s governing body in Australia, Ski and Snowboard Australia, says Sochi organisers decided conditions were just too dangerous to go ahead.
“Just the speed that these guys would be travelling at over an undulating course, it’s not worth running the risk of harming the athletes. There were enough injuries in the women’s event when the conditions were good, so it’s a dangerous course and you don’t want to run that risk.”
Australia’s ice-dancing pairing of Danielle O’Brien and Greg Merriman have wrapped up their competition at Sochi, finishing last of 20 competitors after the free-dance section.
Merriman and O’Brien had advanced to the free dance thanks to a season’s-best performance in the short dance on Sunday.
O’Brien has told Channel 10 the experience of competing against the world’s best on the biggest stage was a thrilling one.
“It felt hard in the legs, but so exciting in my head. My head was buzzing. As much as my legs hurt, I didn’t feel anything, because I was so excited to be out there. It felt great. The audience was great. And we skated well. We had a few little slips, but, other than that, (I’m) so excited to have been out there.”
Two-time world champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White won their first Olympic ice-dancing gold with a world-record total of 195.52.
Reigning Olympic champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada were 4.53 points behind in the silver-medal position.
Russia’s Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov took bronze with a total of 183.48 points.