David Morris - Contributor
A bigger prize than gold
The legacies Iâ€™ve left at the last two Olympics have both been meaningful in very different ways.
My silver medal at Sochi stands out to people. Everyone likes to see their athletes do really well. But I donâ€™t think the memory of a medal lasts as long as a reputation, and I think peopleâ€™s memory of PyeongChang will last a lot longer than my silver medal, because they saw an action, a thought process, and a way of doing things that needs to be shown in sport more often.
I know that sounds like Iâ€™m talking myself up, but for me itâ€™s normal. I was brought up really well. I was taught to lose properly. I was taught to congratulate people whoâ€™d beaten me and understand that you canâ€™t be the best on the day, every single day.
I hope itâ€™s a nice refresher for the Australian publicÂ for everyone to be like ‘yeah, itâ€™s not about the medalsâ€™.
Although we as athletes do want to podium, and people do expect us to do well, at the end of the day if you handle yourself the right way it comes across far, far better than justÂ winning a medal and going, ‘I did the work, thanks, this is awesomeâ€™.
Not that I was happy with the result. I wanted the chance to get through and I wanted the chance to compete again and show the crowd what Iâ€™ve been training for and get up to my five twists.
But in all honesty, if Iâ€™d done a better jump, I wouldnâ€™t have been in that position where I was eliminated. I could have done a straighter jump and I could have landed better, so it was my own fault that my score was 111. If Iâ€™d done a better jump, it would have been up in the 120s and it wouldnâ€™t have been an issue.
It was hard to watch the scores come up. I thought I was in. I personally would have scored it differently, but I am biased because it affected me. Whilst I think I was harshly done by, thatâ€™s the nature of judged sports and something we just have to accept.
— 7Olympics (@7olympics) February 18, 2021
And itâ€™s not like the Chinese athlete Jia Zongyang booted me out. I donâ€™t want people to say ‘Oh, he was beaten by JZâ€™ or, ‘The Chinese guy kicked him outâ€™. There were nine people that got me down to tenth place. My jump wasnâ€™t fantastic and I was in a lower position than I wanted to be and JZ got a better score, and thatâ€™s that.
He was just doing his job as anyone else would, and he didnâ€™t gloat about it. He didnâ€™t waste the opportunity either, and went and got a silver, which is fantastic. Weâ€™re good friends and Iâ€™m happy for him.
Iâ€™ve had fantastic support through the Olympic Winter Institute of Australia,Â Australian Olympic Committee, Victorian Institute of Sport and the Australian Institute of Sport. Theyâ€™ve given me everything Iâ€™ve needed, which is why Iâ€™ve been able to peak at the right time.
Iâ€™ve also had great support from family and friends and all the staff and my teammates. Weâ€™ve all worked together and I just hope Iâ€™ve left a good mark on the sport and a good legacy for people to follow no matter what they do.
I had a break after Sochi because I was over the sport. The lead-up to an Olympics is very stressful and by the end of it I just wanted to be done with aerial skiing for a while because it was just too much.
I was brought up really well. I was taught to lose properly. I was taught to congratulate people whoâ€™d beaten me.
I came back because I had what I thought was some unfinished business. I thought maybe I had a bit more potential to do what I hadnâ€™t achieved.
I had a list of things that I reckon are pretty big deals in the sport. One was an Olympic medal, which was great, and I had that. A World Cup medal or win was another goal, and I had that as well.
Then I had the goal of being ranked number one in the world at some point and getting the leaderâ€™s bib. First season back, I was on the podium straightaway in the first two competitions and I got the leaderâ€™s bib. I was like ‘Sweet, Iâ€™ve got the leaderâ€™s bib and come back betterâ€™.
The next year, I got bronze at the World Championships, and that was another box to tick off.Â All that was left on my list was my goal of performing three flips and five twists in a jump, which is the most difficult skill people do in aerials.
I wanted to see if I had the guts to go and attempt it.
It wasnâ€™t even about landing it, which takes extreme skill. It was more about when Iâ€™m at the top of the jump, forcing myself to turn and go knowing that once I do that, I have to do this skill, you canâ€™t bail.
I did it in the training camp in Finland before the Games and it was unbelievably rewarding. I was so relieved. I got it done. It wasnâ€™t a great landing, I dragged my hands, but I got it done. There was now no point in my sport where Iâ€™d been too scared to go. And thatâ€™s always the test.
To come out and do that jump in training on the Olympics finals day in front of a huge crowd, and my family and friends, was pretty awesome. Iâ€™m glad itâ€™s on video and people got to witness it and people were impressed by that as a training jump.
It was also a nice little mental game to put it down in front of the other Olympic finalists. Just to be like ‘Yep, Iâ€™ve got this ready todayâ€™. It felt great to have the jump in my bag of tricks on the day that mattered.
Itâ€™s just a shame I didnâ€™t make the final six, where I planned to do that jump.
WHAT REALLY MATTERS
I teach PE and maths at Whitefriars College in Melbourne which is my old school. As a teacher, I want to leave a good impression, and have taught people something, and I really hope that people who were watching the Olympic competition learned something from how I handled myself.
Whatâ€™s the point of being athletes if we donâ€™t teach the public and the kids something? At the end of the day, Iâ€™d rather be remembered for who I am as a person than getting a result.
In the Olympic final, most of the field jumped great and it just wasnâ€™t my day. For me, that one day doesnâ€™t define me as an athlete. What does define me is how people perceive me, and that will last way longer than any result.
It was tricky to do the interviews after being eliminated, knowing that I couldnâ€™t do anything about it. But there was no point in losing my cool. I know everyone else did and that was great, they said it for me. I think if I had complained at that point it would have changed nothing other than to make me look a bit sour.
Gracious in defeat. Davis Morris is all class.
— 7Olympics (@7olympics) February 18, 2021
I think we as Aussies do tend to whinge sometimes. We speak out on what we believe is correct and thatâ€™s completely fine. But in the end, I think that as a sporting nation that understands sport, we truly do respect athletes as people rather than winners.
Itâ€™s not about ‘Oh well done, you got a medalâ€™. Itâ€™s ‘Are you a good person?â€™
Iâ€™ve seen medallists who were idiots and people donâ€™t like them, and it doesnâ€™t matter that they got a great result because people donâ€™t like them.
Not that itâ€™s all about being liked, but if you want to be remembered, and to have meant something, you need to be a good person too. At these Olympics, I didnâ€™t do well by my own standards. Iâ€™m happy to have made the final, but Iâ€™m better than that.
But to walk away with such support after performing below my best really shows where peopleâ€™s impressionsÂ are at. I canâ€™t thank people enough for their comments and support.
David Morris - Contributor