Showman Morgan helps close the greatest show in PyeongChang
PyeongChang 2018

Showman Morgan helps close the greatest show in PyeongChang

25 February 2018 / 12:42
Billy Morgan would win gold, silver and bronze when it comes to celebrating Olympic success.

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And the former acrobat showed off all his circus skills briefly carrying the British flag on his chin at a spectacular closing ceremony, another trick that earned him near perfect marks.

Morgan played one of the starring roles as PyeongChang’s Games came to an end in a riot of colour and  fireworks, set against a banging K-Pop beat.

But he revealed when team bosses called him in for a meeting, to reveal he would represent the team, he thought he was in trouble.

“This morning I got called into the room and I thought I was in big trouble but they gave me the honour and it’s crazy to think it’s me,” he said.

“The flag is heavier than I thought it would be and I don’t use my arms much snowboarding. I was just thinking - don’t mess this up Billy.

"My medal is still in my pocket, I’m just going to try not to lose it."

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Morgan, who started snowboarding aged 14, certainly brings some colour to the Olympics but admits there were times his long-suffering Mum and equally entertaining Dad, known by his friends at Mad Eddie, despaired.

He also admitted the medal was extra special to his father, who suffered an aneurism earlier this year.

“My dad, grandad and brother were all in the Navy but I’m the odd one out,” he added. 

“I didn’t really get on well with academic stuff but I hope I’ve inspired everyone to do their sports. 

“It all comes down to facilities and we need more if we want to push the sport further. Freestyle academies have been popping up all over the world and it would be amazing if we had something like that. This could be the beginning.”

Morgan - who refused to rule out a third Games appearance aged 32 in Beijing - is certainly not your every day sportsman. He doesn’t talk too much about ‘processes’ or ‘controlling the controllables’ or ‘staying in the moment’.

“I hope people think of me as a normal guy, a bloke you could meet in the pub and have a chat with," he said.

“The Olympics was never part of my ambitions when I started because our event wasn’t in the Games. I know how much it means now though. All my mates were watching back in the pub in Southampton, I think they had a pretty big one.”

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Team GB were set a target of five medals at these Games - more than they’ve ever previously won - and party loving Morgan was the man who delivered the target.

“I was slightly worried he’d get to the right stadium and carry the flag the right way but he did a great job,” joked chef de mission Mike Hay.

Team bosses were quick to declare mission accomplished after these Games, with Lizzy Yarnold’s skeleton gold and bronze medals for Morgan, freestyle skier Izzy Atkin and skeleton sliders Dom Parsons and Laura Deas securing a best-ever medal haul.

And that gives Hay reason for confidence in four years time in Beijing, which will become the first city to host the winter and summer Games.

“We want to get into that top 15 and we feel we have individuals that can win gold medals for us, a number of sports will have learned from their experiences and come back stronger for Beijing,” he added.

“We’re asked to make history every time we go to the Games these days but there is a point in time we you can’t do that. However, I think we’ve got a lot of headroom in winter sports.”

Sportsbeat 2018
Pictures: Andy J Ryan/Team GB/Getty Images