PyeongChang Update: Billy Morgan seals record-breaking medal haul with big air bronze

A fifth medal for Team GB at PyeongChang 2018 after an incredible men's big air final which sees Billy Morgan defy the odds to claim bronze

Billy Morgan blanked his mind and went for broke to claim a stunning Olympic big air bronze.

Morgan admits his love of a party but - much like skeleton gold medallist Lizzy Yarnold - said he prepared for his final with a nice cup of tea, a good brew seemingly the perfect tonic for Olympic success these days.

After falling on four attempts in training, Morgan pulled off a trick he’d never completed before in competition - a front-side 14 triple with mute and tail-grab - to become the first British man to win an Olympic medal on snow and secure a record-breaking fifth medal at these Games.

He fell on his first run but punched the air with delight after nailing his second two attempts.

That put him in third place with ten riders to come, ensuring a nervous wait before he was finally mobbed by his British team-mates, while Canada’s Sebastien Toutant took gold and American Kyle Mack claimed silver.

And the medal had extra significance after battling a knee injury in recent weeks, which could have ruled him out of a second Games appearance.

“I’m 28 years old and I’ve maxed the limit of what my body can be scared about,” he said.

“It’s the best feeling, the pay off after you do something you are scared about and you land on your feet, that’s why we do this.

“For that last trick I pushed all the fear to one side, I thought even if I completely wreck myself it doesn't matter, I'm just going to go and do it.

“Normally I'm just worried but I went out there to send it for the boys.

“It’s great, it means so much for the whole team, they’re all stoked. I think there were a few tears actually. I don’t think I’ve seen any of them cry before. It’s weird isn’t it?

“I didn't think I could win a medal, it’s just blown my mind.”

Morgan’s sporting career started as an acrobat in Southampton while he paid for winter seasons by working on building sites back home during summer months.

“I try to be as genuine as possible and I come from a very genuine background,” he added.  “I used to work on building sites to pay for my winters and that makes me a relatable dude.

“I loved working on the sites and I learned loads of stuff. I almost miss it, getting my shirt off, working on the roofs.

“It’s not been a slog. I started snowboarding for the sheer love of it, snowboarded on the plastic, went and did seasons away and developed my skill without knowing it. When I joined the British team, I just carried on, with a great bunch of mates.”

Morgan’s bronze was Team GB’s fifth medal at these Games, a record haul with tonight’s women’s curling bronze medal match against Japan to come.

“He put himself under a bit of pressure but he executed when it mattered and I’m just delighted for him and his team,” said Team GB chef de mission Mike Hay.

“You are always under pressure and I’m just so pleased that we’ve won five medals.

“Sometimes you just need to hold your nerve. We’ve got a lot of talented athletes here and you always have ups and down but the Games is 17 days long and you can’t be quick to judge.

“This is an awesome event and I just hope he’s inspired people watching at home. It’s a great story, at one time he didn’t think he’d be fit enough to come here and to win a medal.”

Team GB's Dave Ryding, Laurie Taylor, Alex Tilley and Charlie Guest made the quarter-finals of the first-ever Olympic alpine team event.

Great Britain opened with victory over the USA in the 1/8 finals before taking on Norway. The scores were tied at 2-2 after wins for Tilley and Ryding, with Norway progressing on combined times by 0.21 seconds.

Ryding said: “I’m quite often racing on my own so it's cool to feed off other people's vibes and other people's positive energy.

“It was a really nice event. We gave the alpine super power of Norway a hell of a run for their money so we can hold our heads high.

“It's a great event to include on the Olympic programme and I really enjoyed being a part of it.”

Team GB pilots Lamin Been and Brad Hall sit 17th and 18th at the midway point of the four-man bobsleigh competition at the Olympic Sliding Centre.

Hall said: “Even though the pace wasn't what we wanted, we did a really good push and the drive was nice and neat, I didn't make any big mistakes so I was really happy with that.

Deen added: “We are going to improve in the final two heats, that's all we can do, keep improving.”

Andrew Musgrave was once again Britain's top finisher as he and Callum Smith competed in the men's 50km mass start classic.

Musgrave placed 37th and Smith 57th in a race lasting over two hours and won by Finland's Iivo Niskanen.

And Musgrave, who finished the Games with a best result of seventh in the 30km skiathlon, admitted he had felt the pace of the race.

"It was a pretty hard day," he said. "I'm just a little bit weaker at classic. I thought the pace was so high on the first lap.

"For me if I go a little bit too hard in classic skiing then I sometimes blow up completely. "That's pretty much what happened after about 7km and I still had another 43km to go. It wasn't exactly ideal. I was looking forward to getting to the finish line."

Eve Muirhead plays for bronze in the women's curling at 8.05pm


Sportsbeat 2018