When Australia’s only male aerial skier, David Morris, won a silver medal last night he was wearing a women’s uniform.
“We have a one-piece suit and they have girlie hips and stuff and they never really fit me,” 29 year-old Morris told 3AW today. “At least this year for the Olympics they’ve tailored them so it looks a bit better.”
For Morris, it’s just another quirk of being the only male competitor in what is, in Australia, a female-dominated sport. A former cheerleading instructor, Morris has had to fight his way into aerial skiing against the advice of the Australian Olympic Winter Institute. When Morris first approached them asking to get involved, they turned him away.
“I was told they didn’t think I was right for the sport and didn’t have a place for me,” Morris told 3AW of the institute, which was focussed on developing its already strong women’s team.
He was forced to turn to the United States, whose national team welcomed him with open arms, build his confidence and create a name for himself in the sport, returning home triumphant with enough backers to finally win the institute over.
Morris, a former gymnast from Donvale, Melbourne, took up the sport after meeting world champion aerial skier Kirstie Marshall ten years ago at the Nunawading Gymnastics Centre.
“A guy came up and started talking to me and it was David,” Marshall told Triple M. “I could see from his credentials he was a good skier and a great gymnast so I said ‘If you’re interested I’d love to give you a hand’. There wasn’t a men’s program at the time so I worked with him for free for a year and a half until it became apparent that he had to be included.”
Australia’s third medal winner in the Sochi games was already gaining media attention for his sense of humour and his incredibly supportive family, particularly his brother Peter, who is prone to wearing an outrageous green and yellow suit as a show of support.
— AUS Olympic Team (@AUSOlympicTeam) February 5, 2014
After winning the medal, humble Morris was in a state of shock and gave his winning flowers to his overjoyed mother, Margaret.
“I basically just closed my eyes and waited for the ground to come,” the ecstatic Olympian told Fox Sports of his winning quad twisting triple somersault.
It was undeniably a well-deserved victory. A 2013 YouTube video of the Aussie star using his car as a makeshift training apparatus reveals not only his skill and strength, but a genuine commitment to a sport which did everything to try and keep him out.