Party-loving Billy Morgan carries flag as GB toast record haul

Great Britain flag bearer Billy Morgan walks during the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics. Picture: Getty.
Great Britain flag bearer Billy Morgan walks during the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics. Picture: Getty.
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Snowboarder Billy Morgan shook off a hangover of Olympic proportions to play the starring role in last night’s closing ceremony.

After winning big air bronze, the 28-year old admitted to hitting the town hard and not remembering that mates had taken him back to the Olympic Village on a luggage trolley.

Indeed, when team bosses called him in for a meeting, to reveal he would carry the 
British flag, he thought he was in trouble after posting a 
hangover picture on Instagram.

“We went out for a party and everyone came, we had a great time,” he said, after being named as the first snowboarder to carry the flag.

“I was actually in bed pretty early. I sent it too hard, too early and peaked out. I don’t remember the trolley but apparently it happened.

“This morning I got called into the room and I thought I was in trouble but they gave me the honour of being the Olympic flag bearer. It’s crazy.

“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.”

Morgan, who started snowboarding aged 14, certainly brings some colour to the Olympics and admits there were times his equally entertaining dad – known by his friends as Mad Eddie – despaired. He also admitted the medal was extra special to his father, who suffered a heart 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 we’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.”

Morgan is certainly not your every day sportsman. He doesn’t talk about ‘processes’ or ‘controlling the controllables’ or ‘staying in the moment’.

He freely admitted enjoying a drink between his disappointing performance in the slopestyle, where he was considered a medal contender, and his podium place in the big air, where he wasn’t.

“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.”

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 if 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, though will wonder what might have been had speed skater Elise Christie stood up and top snowboarding medal hope Katie Ormerod not got crocked before the flame was even lit. And that gives Hay reason for confidence in four years’ time.

“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.

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