Hall of Famer
Born in 1917, Fred Morris was involved with Ski Jumping for most of his adult life. He began skiing and ski jumping in the 1920s and would actively participate in jumping until the early 1970s, a period of some 40-years. In 1955, he became involved with the Ottawa Ski Club, Camp Fortune, Quebec, as a volunteer and from 1956 on was active in all aspects of coaching and officiating at the club, division and national levels. In 1961 he was named a Division and National Ski Jumping Judge, a position he would hold until 1970.
1960 – 1987
Chairman, Organizing Committee, Chief of Competitions and Technical Delegate to numerous local, national and international competitions
1963 – 1976
Chairman, Ski Jumping, National Capital Division, Canadian Ski Association
1964 – 1968
Vice Chairman, Ski Jumping, Canadian Ski Association
1969 – 1970
National Chairman, Ski Jumping, Canadian Ski Association
1971 – 1976
Vice Chairman, Ski Jumping, Canadian Ski Association (East)
Coach/Manager, Junior World Nordic team, Autrans, France
1977 – 1978
Coach/Manager, Canadian World Nordic Championship Team, Lahti, Finland
1978 – 1980
Manager, World Cup, Canadian Junior World Championship Teams to Italy, Germany, Austria, Finland, Sweden and USA
Olympic Team Manager, Xlll Winter Olympic Games, Lake Placid, New York, USA
Named an Honourary Member of the Canadian Ski Association
Following the 1976 Winter Olympic Games, Innsbruck Austria, Sport Canada (a federal body) and the Canadian Ski Association requested that Ski Jumping give a status review of the ski jumping discipline in Canada. As a consequence, Ski Jumping’s budget was cut from $120,000 to zero; the Chairman resigned and the jumping team disbanded. The Chairman of the Canadian Ski Association called upon Fred Morris to assume a position as Interim Chairman of Ski Jumping, which was accepted. One of his first initiatives was to call an emergency meeting of the top Nordic experts in the country. Fifteen people gathered round a boardroom table in Toronto to discuss the fate of ski jumping in Canada. Even though there was no funding for the sport, Fred Morris made it clear that the national team would not be disbanded. At that meeting, he was confirmed as the National Chairman, a new constitution recommended, a revised committee structure established and an entirely new ski jumping development program initiated.
A decision was also made to the effect that no ski jumper would compete internationally until the jumper’s results approached world-class levels. It was a program that would begin the rebuilding process from the ground up over a period of four years.
A request for interim financing was submitted to the Directors of the Canadian Ski Association who responded at the Annual General Meeting by giving the Ski Jumping group
$8,000, barely sufficient but enough to start the re-building process. Determined to keep the new initiatives on course, Fred Morris and a team of volunteers set up what was described as a “kitchen table” operation in his Ottawa home. He became not only the
National Chairman but also the secretary, treasurer, managing director, team director and program administrator. When asked what was in his briefcase, he was heard to reply: “The national headquarters of the Canadian Ski Jumping team”.
Fortunately, the Ontario Ski Council was persuaded to participate financially in the establishment of an Ontario Ski Jumping team with emphasis on encouraging young people to take up the sport. A further contribution to ski jumping was made by the government of the Province of Ontario with the construction of two world class ski jumps of 70 and 90 meters as part of a Nordic Training Centre at Thunder Bay, Ontario. These facilities enabled the athletes to train at the same level as the Europeans.
By 1980, the improvement in facilities and ski jumping development program produced the results anticipated four years earlier. in 1979, Horst Bulau won the Junior World Championship (he would go on to win 22 medals in World Cup competition, and 17 medals in National and United States events). In 1980, a Canadian, Steve Collins, won the World Junior Championship title again.
1978 Associated Commercial Travelers Outstanding Sportsman of the Year, Ottawa, Ontario
1982 Finalist, Air Canada “Coach of the Year” Award
1983 Special Achievement Award given by the provincial government of Ontario
If it hadn’t been for the dedication and unremitting efforts of Fred Morris it is likely that the sport of Ski Jumping would not have survived either in the National Capital Region nor in the Province of Ontario.
Please Note: The ski information gathered here is compiled from a number of sources; it may not be inclusive of all accomplishments.
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Fred Morris (front row, 2nd from left). CSHFM Collection.
Fred Morris (left). CSHFM Collection.
Fred Morris, Mrs. Morris, and Liz Fripp at 1988 Canadian Ski Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. CSHFM Collection.