Australian aerials star David Morris has opened up about the new weapon in his arsenal for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, the toughest jump in the sport which he has just landed in training for the first time.
The secrets of the five-twistJump: Five-twist (back double full/double full/full) triple somersault
Entry speed: 60kph
Height achieved: Up to 35m
Time taken: Less than three seconds
Speaking to the media two days out from the start of the Winter Games, Morris went into detail about the five-twist, three-somersault jump he completed at the aerials team's training camp in Finland — and the stress he had to go through to achieve it.
"I nailed it last week," he said.
"We turned up one day, and the weather was fantastic — it was no wind, blue skies and my coach was just like, 'we're doing it today', and I was like, 'all right, then'."
Morris said he built up to the big moment, but it almost got too much for him.
"I was at the top, having a mental breakdown — I think I was borderline about to cry and question my life decisions and whether it was actually worth skiing down and trying this skill (jump).
"Then Lydia (Lassila, who won gold for Australia in women's aerials in Vancouver in 2010) came up and we had a moment. I went ,'hold me!'"
At this point Lassila chimed in at the press conference, saying: "I held him — for quite some time!"
At the media's urging, he then recreated the jump for the cameras — without the assistance of a ramp or snow.
"Coming into the jump, I'm kind of shaking like this," he said with his hands above his head, trembling.
"Then I come off the jump, switch into a double twist, I'm spinning around, spinning around," he added, acting out the spins that he does high in the air.
"I go to the second one (double), close my eyes thinking 'please, please', then a little bit further — I see the ground here and [I go] 'ugh, God' [as I land]."
Morris admitted that he sees "nothing, nothing" while he's doing the jump.
"It happens in less than three seconds, I honestly do close my eyes the entire time until I hit the ground, so it's a bit of a surprise!" he said.
"There's no point in looking, you see the skyline [but] that's not what I want to look at."
Breakthrough four years in the making
The genesis of this breakthrough came four years ago in Sochi, when Morris qualified for the four-man final and then nailed his final jump, a four-twist, triple somersault.
Three other competitors attempted a five-twist, triple somersault — two failed the landing but one, Anton Kushnir of Belarus, nailed his jump to win the gold medal.
Morris finished 24.09 points behind Kushnir in the silver medal position, but the result showed he needed a bigger jump to move up to the top step of the podium.
"I've been ready for quite a while, I had to, I guess, just man up and do it," he said.
"It was easier than I thought it'd be. It was just very, very scary but once I did it, I went back up and did another one.
"Just having the weight off my shoulders — it's been a career goal for me for a long time.
"That's the reason I came back [to the sport], to do that five-twist."
Dale Chapman, senior sports physiologist at the Australian Sports Commission and performance manager for skeleton and bobsleigh at Pyeongchang, told the ABC there was no physiological advantage to doing a four-twist jump compared to a five.
"They will still approach the ramp at approximately 60 kilometres per hour," Chapman said.
"In order to complete five twists, the athlete will have to deal with the greater rotational speeds, importantly they must be able to stop the rotation forces from this extra spin and land squarely and ski out straight — the judging element of the sport requires a straight line take-off, landing and ski off — all of this increases the element of danger/risk when performing the trick."
It all will come down to timing and maths — the four-twist jump that Morris did in Sochi has a degree of difficulty (DOD) of 4.525.
The five-twist back double full/double full/full that Morris has now landed is similar to the one that Kushnir is hoping to defend his title with — it has the ultimate degree of difficulty of 5.000.
Russian 19-year-old star Maxim Burov — who beat Kushnir in Lake Placid last month by nailing a four-twist, back double-full/full/full jump — will also be in calculations in Pyeongchang.
But what Morris has done is level the field between him and most of his top rivals — and turns the Australian into a genuine gold medal threat.
Now everyone has to wait until the final late on Sunday, February 18 (starting 10pm AEDT), when hopefully he will get to show if he can stick the landing when it counts.