Taylor Morris’ progress toward the Eagle Scout rank was lagging when his parents made him a deal. Finish Eagle, they said, and you’ll get your driver’s license.
That did the trick. Morris earned Eagle in 2009, as a member of Venturing Crew 2834 of South Jordan, Utah.
Now 26 and preparing to competing in his first Winter Olympics, Morris is grateful for that extra push. He says his time as a Scout and Venturer in the Great Salt Lake Council was transformative.
“I believe that I have learned as many life lessons as a Scout as I have in my 16 years of traveling the world,” he says.
Around the world, down the track
If you want to compete in luge, world travel isn’t a luxury. It’s a requirement.
Of the 15 recognized luge tracks in the world, only two are in the United States (Lake Placid, N.Y., and Park City, Utah).
All that time in foreign airports, hotels and training facilities makes planning essential.
“You have to be diligent in all aspects. Organization and time management are crucial in being a successful athlete,” he says. “And it should go without saying that it is just as important in the Scouting community.”
It’s important in the military, too.
Morris is a sergeant in the U.S. Army and part of the Army World Class Athlete Program, which supports soldiers training to become Olympians.
Not giving up
In the late 2000s, Morris headed to Bear Lake, Idaho, with his fellow Scouts. They spent five days there, and the experience solidified his desire to stay in Scouting.
“We earned merit badges of all sorts, and it was one of the pivotal campouts that encouraged me to continue my goal earning my Eagle Scout,” he says.
Five years after earning Eagle, Morris narrowly missed qualification for the 2014 Winter Olympics. He considered hanging up his sled, but he didn’t. Four years later, he’s an Olympian.
I asked Morris whether he sees a message there for his fellow Scouts.
“There are so many times I thought of quitting and giving up,” he says. “But persevere through the tough times and come out a champion to yourself and those who support you.”
Ready for action
Competition in men’s singles luge begins Feb. 10. Morris will race four times, with each run lasting less than a minute. The racer with the lowest combined time wins.
But Morris knows it’s pointless to think about the other racers. All that matters is his time.
“Success in Korea would be navigating the course to the best of my ability all four of the Olympic runs,” he says. “Really I can’t ask for more, and staying focused on myself will be key in doing that.”
That means stick with what’s been working. During his six training runs and four competitive runs, Morris will try to stay on the same course that got him to Pyeongchang.
“I think I have a very concrete schedule and way of doing things before big races, and I will try my hardest not to change that for the Olympic races,” he says.
How to watch Taylor Morris
Competition dates: Two runs on Saturday, Feb. 10, and two on Sunday, Feb. 11. The four times are added up, and the fastest total time determines the winner.
- Run 1: Scheduled to begin at 5:10 a.m. ET Feb. 10
- Run 2: Scheduled to begin at 6:55 a.m. ET Feb. 10
- Run 3: Scheduled to begin at 4:50 a.m. ET Feb. 11
- Run 4: Scheduled to begin at 6:55 a.m. ET Feb. 11
How to watch:
- Live coverage on NBCSN. Replays each afternoon on NBC.
- Livestream of Runs 1 and 2: Here
- Livestream of Runs 3 and 4: Here
Other Eagle Scouts in the Winter Olympics
Meet the other Eagle Scouts here.