Medaling parents, what the world can learn from David Morris’ family

Belle Brockhoff’s father releases ill timed attack on AOC & OWIA, while Shane and Margaret Morris show the world the meaning of team.

Imagine wearing the green and gold and competing in your first Olympics. All those years of hard work, hours and hours and hours of training, recovered injuries and sacrifice. Now imagine being the proud parents of an Olympian, parents who have sacrificed tens of thousands of dollars to help their child reach Olympic status.

You wouldn’t miss their competition for the world, would you?

Not so Bruce and Kristine Brockhoff who, in protest against their take on athlete funding (and we are told in discussions with their daughter) made the decision to cancel their Sochi accommodation and competition tickets prior to arriving in Russia.

Instead they watched Belle on television do her nation proud with eighth in boarder cross.

As a result of their protest they were not there to hold her, wave the flag and cheer.

Instead Bruce, within hours of Belle’s race, released a scathing statement by email to key Sochi media as part of his protest exposing his gripes with the OWIA and AOC with special reference to specific athletes. Did someone say, timing?

We actively chose not to immediately run the statement delivered to our inbox (News Ltd did) as Alex Chumpy Pullin was to compete for gold less than twenty four hours after. However the mens boarder cross race was postponed until later today Sydney time and now Brockhoff has come out with a public apology. (20/2/14 AOC President John Coates has now revealed his thoughts on the timing of the original statement to the Sydney Morning Herald).

Even Torah is unhappy about Bruce’s original statement and timing as reported by The Sydney Morning Herald and once you’ve crossed Torah, look out, as they say don’t pick a fight with Torah Bright. With Torah deliberately now distancing herself from the #teamoutcast hashtag she originally led we have a feeling this story is far from over with more revelations to come. 

While athletes and parents may or may not have valid cause for complaint some say the time to seriously address that is once the green and gold is replaced for civilian dress. The Olympics is about competing together as a team for Australia.

Now look at Shane and Margaret Morris and their sons David and Peter.  David Morris is the sole male aerial skier competing for Australia at Sochi. He has received little if not no funding from the OWIA as any funding was channelled into the women and he was even approached by Canada and other countries to jump for them.

Thanks to guts and determination he won a silver medal in Aerials in Sochi.  His parents and brother were there to watch.

Peter Morris is known for his loud green and gold suit and some may laugh at the block colour combinations but the suit makes more than a fashion statement. It says I am here, I am proud and that man, that man right there, he is my brother.

Peter Morris

Shane and Margaret wore custom made Aerial Skier green and gold beanies and when David won he gave his flowers from the ceremony to his mum. Bless.

This tight knit family have been Tweeting, Facebooking and Instagraming from their own and David’s accounts throughout the Olympics and even before in China where they travelled to watch David compete. The entire family is enthusiasm and gratitude personified. They are just simply thrilled to be wherever David is and even stood up to the Russian men in black.

Mum Margaret teared up and said “Great to have him here and celebrate with him” when speaking to our reporter Natalie Peters at the team medal party. Her son David responded with “don’t cry don’t cry.”

Now spare a thought for boarder cross athlete Cam Bolton’s parents who would never give up their chance to watch Cam race at the Olympics but as a result of the fog postponing competition by twenty four hours they may be kicked out of Russia due to visa issues. 

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Being an athlete’s parent is far from easy as the Boltons know all too well. 

Sporting parents, like stage parents, have a reputation for being as competitive if not more so than their children who partake in the sport. The privileged entitlement of rich ski parents can take it to a new level. Just stand course side on race day at Thredbo and watch them in action.

Irate parents on the sidelines is not new either. Bernard Tomic’s father punched his training partner and Jelena Dokic’s dad was ejected from Wimbledon for smashing a journalist’s phone and then some. Even the average youth hockey game can lead to a parental blood bath.

In over a decade writing about snow sports I have been approached by at least a dozen parents wanting their stories of discontent told. Some are truly valid and some just kidding themselves.

But all are driven by an overwhelming love for their child and a desire to get them the best they can, just shown in very different ways. Brockhoff no doubt adores his daughter, with good reason she’s one gutsy competitor and young woman, in his own words he says:

“I apologise for the timing of my email which was not meant to hurt rather to maximise and insure my daughters future in her beloved sport especially at the Olympics.”

The media will get to Brockhoff’s story if they deem it worthy but for now, in week two, we’re celebrating with the Morris family.

Oh, and Chumpy races tonight with Cam Bolton and Jarryd Hughes, look out!

Read more: Australia’s snowboarding ‘tennis parents’ hit back

Read more: What the world can learn from Torah Bright

Listen to our chat about athlete funding and parents with Frances Leech and Kelli Underwood on ABC Grandstand, click on the image below.

Rachael Oakes-Ash discusses Sochi with Francis Leech and Kelli Underwood

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Rachael Oakes-Ash is the name behind @misssnowitall and the founder of A long time travel and lifestyle journalist and ski writer, she's been published in ESPN, TIME, Wallpaper*, Action Asia, Inside Sport, Australian Financial Review, Emirates Open Skies, Conde Nast Traveler and more. She was the Fairfax snow blogger from 2007 to 2017 and the Southern Hemisphere editor for OnTheSnow. Rachael is also a documentary producer, author, radio announcer and humorist.


  1. Very well written. 2 X cliché. God chooses your relatives thank God you can choose your friends. Never wash your dirty linen in public. This to say the least was very ill timed. Enough said.

  2. I have the pleasure of knowing this family and extended family and train at crossfit redbluff with them. I can certainly vouch for that fact that they truely are some of the nicest people I have ever met – kind, generous and loyal. The two boys are certainly a credit to their parents.


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