By Neil Leverett
- GB’s Billy Morgan takes bronze in Men’s Snowboarding Big Air final
- Southampton rider takes Team GB’s fifth medal in South Korea to better pre-Games medal target, a record haul
- XXIII Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea run until February 25
PYEONGCHANG, SOUTH KOREA – Team GB’s Billy Morgan finishes with bronze at Alpensia Ski Jumping Centre, as Canadian Sebastian Toutant takes Gold. Medal is GB’s fourth bronze and second on snow of the 2018 Winter Games, as GB set record medal haul.
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Morgan flies to grab Big Air bronze
Great Britain’s Billy Morgan took a surprise bronze in the final of the Men’s Big Air with a combined score of 168.00, to claim GB’s fourth bronze and fifth medal of the 2018 Winter Games, a record haul for a British team.
The 28 year-old from Southampton recovered after failing to land his opening jump to nail his last two and cling on to third spot at the Alpensia Ski Jumping Centre, taking Britain’s second medal on snow after Izzy Atkin’s third-placed finish in the Women’s ski slopestyle exactly a week ago.
Morgan took bronze behind American Kyle Mack as Canada’s Sebastian Toutant takes Olympic Gold.
Briton narrowly fails to land opener
As second to go in the starting list having qualified in 11th place from the week’s earlier heat, Morgan knew that even if he were to nail two of the three jumps in the final, there was likely to be an anxious wait to determine a final place in the standings after all 12 men had jumped.
With the best two combined scores counting – unlike in the slopestyle events – a solid start was key for medal hopefuls to stay in touch of a podium spot at Alpensia.
The Briton like all his competing riders in the finale was capable of two perfect leaps off the kicker, but was nevertheless an outsider to finish with any colour of silverware on the penultimate day of the Games.
When Morgan threw in a spectacular jump and rotation set to land deep then – but narrowly failed to hit his landing – the odds of a place on the medal rostrum had become that much more distant.
Clean and ‘big’ final runs
With both Mack and Toutant having landed high-scoring opening efforts, the pressure was ramped up on the Briton to land a jump to remain in contention.
As Morgan dropped in, the 2016 X-Games bronze medalist who was the first rider to land a quad-cork, landed cleanly at the base of the hill to notch a 82.50 score to jump up the standings into the top eight at the end of the second run.
As a rider capable of a score of ninety, a top-three finish was now within sight as the likes of Mark McMorris and Carlos Garcia Knight both failed to hit second jumps to effectively rule themselves out of contention.
Unlike his rivals however, Morgan kept his cool as he prepared to hit a decisive third jump at the top of the ramp. With a front-side triple-14 on deck, the Briton nailed the landing on a double grab as the judges made their deliberations on his final jump.
A score of 85.50 saw Morgan slot into third place with a combined total of 168.00 with a nervous wait for the Briton to hold onto the final step on the podium.
Nervous wait for Morgan
Sitting in third with the rider’s best two combined scores counting, only Canada’s Max Parrot could deny Morgan a bronze medal in his second Winter Games.
As the the final man from all three runs, Parrot laid it all on the line. Attempting to throw a CAB triple-18 however, the silver medalist from slopestyle earlier in the Games crashed to the powder on landing after throwing in added difficulty. Celebrations began in earnest for Morgan.
Taking GB’s fourth bronze of the Olympics and the fifth in total, sees the British team overtake their pre-Games medal target but also record their biggest medal haul at a Winter Games.
The XXXIII Winter Olympics conclude this weekend, with the closing ceremony on Sunday morning UK time in PyeongChang, South Korea.
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