The 28-year-old Australian Institute of Sport / Victorian Institute of Sport athlete, who came close to walking away from aerial skiing 12 months ago, achieved a life-long dream of becoming the first Aussie male to reach a World Cup podium since Jono Sweet finished third at Whistler-Blackcomb, Canada, one week short of 15 years ago.
Morris’ third place elevates his world ranking to number three and comes just six days after he achieved a then World Cup career best result of fourth at Val Saint Come, Canada.
Today’s World Cup third round saw Chinese athletes fill the first two places with Zongyang Jia and Guangpu Qi taking out first and second. Morris’ bronze medal denied the Chinese team a 1-2-3 finish.
While all eyes were on the Australian women, particularly current Olympic gold medallist Lydia Lassila, Morris stole the limelight.
Three Australian women qualified for the round of 12, however, none scored high enough to progress to the super-final for the top four athletes.
The best of the Australian women was 22-year-old AIS / VIS scholarship holder Dani Scott, who finished with a career equaling best fifth place after topping the leaders’ board in qualifying.
Fellow AIS / VIS athletes Lydia Lassila and Laura Peel finished 11th and 12th respectively, after both missing their landings in the round of 12.
Morris described the result as the “best day of his life.”
“I didn’t dream that I would ever be standing on a World Cup podium,” an elated Morris said soon after the completion of the night event.
“I did a quad triple triple (in the round of 12) and it was massive and I pinned the landing. I was celebrating that one because I had redeemed myself on the spot.
“When we looked at who was in the super final, we realised there were three Chinese guys. The only jump I had left was the full, full, full, which would have given me a fourth against those guys.
“So at that point I decided to do my first double full, full, full for the season.”
“When I landed it, I felt like hugging everyone, which is what I probably did by the end of the day.”
Ironically, Sweet, the last Australian male aerial skier to stand on a World Cup podium, was Morris’ first coach and the person who enticed him into the sport.
Morris admitted that 12 months ago he came close to quitting the sport that has been the centre of his life for so long.
He said that watching aerial events on TV prompted him to strap the skis on again this season.
“When I saw some of the results, I thought that could be me so I decided then to compete again.”
Morris has no time for celebrations as the next World Cup aerial competition will be held at Lake Placid in 24 hours.