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Morris gets Olympic job

Jason Morris is going back to the Olympics, but not as an athlete.

The Glenville resident was named head coach for the 2008 United States judo team that will compete in the Olympics in Beijing, China. He will also coach the U.S. national team at next year's world championships.

Morris whose own judo club has produced three nationally top-ranked athletes in the past year said his appointment was a natural progression from his previous roles with the United States Judo Association.

"I believe that the development of the (Jason Morris Judo Center) started the ball rolling pre-2004," he said. "And then, I got a few appointments to coach part of the national team at the Pan American championships and the world championships."

JMJC athlete Carrie Chandler, who is part of the U.S. national team, said she's happy to have her coach on board as she gears up for the Olympic trials in 2008.

"It works out especially good for me because I'm on the national team, so it means I get to take my hometown coach with me " hopefully to the Olympics," she said. "It's like we're a team. We've been working together, and now he's getting rewarded, too."

Morris knows what it takes to be an Olympian. He's been part of four U.S. Olympic judo teams and won a silver medal at the 1992 games in Barcelona, Spain.

Morris said he plans to work as closely as he can with every athlete on the national team.

"The first point will be to identify, evaluate and then work on their fundamentals "give them a bigger base," he said. "And then the further we go down the road, eye their actual competition."

Chandler said Morris' greatest strength is his ability to guide athletes on the mat during matches.

"The biggest thing I can say is that Jason is bar none the best mat-side coach in the world," said Chandler. "He does all the preparation, but when the people are actually out there fighting, he can make the adjustments that can make you win the match at the time. It's hard to do that. It's hard for a coach to sit on the side and say, 'Put your hands here, put your foot here and you're going to win,' but he has the ability to look at what's happening and tell you how to move to win the match."

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