Holy shit, what a contest! And what a result for Britain’s Billy Morgan. Putting down his biggest tricks on the biggest stage of them all, the man from Southampton proved once and for all that he is one of the world’s best freestyle riders.
“I didn’t think I could win a medal, it’s just blown my mind,” he said afterwards. Modest as ever, Billy was surprised. But he needn’t have been.
By his own admission, Morgan has sometimes struggled for acceptance among some snowboarders, in part because of his background. “I wasn’t one of the cool kids,” he told the Looking Sideways podcast in the run up to the games. Hailing from the UK, a country not known for its snowboarding culture, was a problem. So was the fact that he did acrobatics as a kid, as if that somehow gave him an unfair advantage.
“I didn’t think I could win a medal, it’s just blown my mind”
Even when Billy was landing tricks that had never been done before – the triple rodeo, the quad cork – he was copping flack online. Armchair analysts who somehow seemed to think that a dude who learned on dryslopes “snowboarding for the sheer love of it,” and honed his skills doing seasons in Morzine, didn’t realise that a “floaty backside 180” was considered more stylish.
But if winning a Big Air medal today wasn’t enough to silence his critics, then the manner in which it was won should be. Billy didn’t spin the most degrees this morning in the Alpensia ski jumping stadium. But his tricks were massive, lofted like howitzer shells waaaay down the landing, and clean – all things the judges were looking out for. Most importantly, they were also stylish.
Speaking to Mpora after the event, Iztok Sumatic, one of the judges, said Billy’s medal was “well deserved. Great style, and full send!”