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WE LOOK BACK AT WINTER OLYMPICS - Jane Peel, Chief Reporter
Sunday February 25, 2018 - Email this article to a friend

It's all over with Team GB home. Billy Morgan, wielded the flag for GB as the 23rd Winter Olympics closed. We review the best & worst bits.



It's all over for another four years.

The sport's done and the Olympic flame has been extinguished.

We've put together our highlights of the Games at the end of this article.

But before it all ended, there was the small matter of the Closing Ceremony.

And the man who won Team GB's final medal in Pyeongchang, 28-year-old Billy Morgan was chosen to carry the Union Flag into the Olympic stadium.

The freestyle snowboarder won the bronze medal in the inaugural Olympic Big Air on the penultimate day of competition.
It took GB's medal count to five, a record for a Winter Olympics, surpassing the four won at both Chamonix in 1924 and Sochi in 2014.

We'd have put money on Morgan being chosen as the Closing Ceremony flagbearer, but probably wouldn't have got very good odds. 

Billy MorganWearing the flag after winning bronze




























"I'm pretty nervous already just thinking about carrying the flag but I'm sure it's going to be amazing," Morgan said before the event.

"I'll say to the athletes that it's an honour to be the flagbearer and I hope everyone is stoked because it's been a great experience out here.

"I still can't believe yesterday. I never expected to win a medal before the contest and I keep forgetting I did it so it's nice to relive it now and then which is pretty cool.

"It's been a crazy Games for Team GB, our best ever, so I hope everyone can go home happy. It's been amazing for me and I'm just over the moon.

"The Olympics is a huge thing. When I first started it was only halfpipe but it's really helped push snowboarding along and really put it on the map.

"I think it's been amazing for snowboarding. "

Billy Morgan with bronze medalBilly Morgan gets his medal - photo Andy J Ryan Team GB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
















 

Morgan later told the BBC that he didn't know how he was going to carry the flag.

"I'm a snowboarder, I barely use my arms, so I don't know.

"People have been saying there's a technique to it but I guess I'll just freestyle it. I'm a freestyler."

Well, he didn't do a flip while carrying the flag, but he did show off another skill which didn't involve using his arms and managed to upstage the other the flagbearers......

Billy MorganBilly Morgan's party piece - photo Andy J Ryan Team GB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Team GB Chef de Mission Mike Hay said: "Billy became a bit of a people's champion yesterday with that big air bronze medal and it's a fitting tribute to his endearing character that he represents the whole of Team GB at tonight's Closing Ceremony.

"It was a fantastic final full of high quality athletes, which makes Billy's performance that extra bit special.

"To leave PyeongChang with five medals, our best ever Games in that respect, and a host of fourth place finishes and top 10s across the sports shows that winter sport in the United Kingdom is going in the right direction.

"These athletes can rightly return home very proud of what they have accomplished here in South Korea."

Billy Morgan & flagbearersBilly Morgan carrying the flag conventionally - with a double grab Smile

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


At PlanetSKI we have watched hours and hours of the Winter Olympics.

Sadly for us it's all been via the small screen as we couldn't be in South Korea.

We've unashamedly focused our coverage (though, not exclusively) on the efforts of the British athletes and, in particular, the skiers and snowboarders, whose progress we follow year-round.

Here are our highlights in no particular order, a few lowlights, and our unsung heroes from Pyeongchang 2018.

HIGHLIGHTS

1. Ski Slopestyle

What an incredible showcase of freestyle skiing at its very best the men's event was and not just the final but also the qualifiers. 

GB's Tyler Harding, who didn't get through to the final, summed it up: "Even in qualifiers it was the highest level I've ever seen for freeskiing and in the finals everyone stepped it up."

Britain's James 'Woodsy' Woods, who came agonisingly close to a medal, finishing fourth,  is one of the best exponents of what he calls an 'art' rather than a sport. 

The women's ski slopestyle was just as spectacular and contributed to Super Saturday for Team GB, with the squad's youngest athlete, 19-year-old Izzy Atkin, getting the bronze.

Izzy AtkinIzzy Atkin, bronze for GB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


2.  Shaun White wins Snowboard Halfpipe gold

At the time, the snowboard halfpipe final was our highlight of the Games.

Shaun White divides opinion in the snowboarding community and he'd come to Pyeongchang to reclaim his title after finishing fourth in Sochi.  He'd won gold in both Turin in 2006 and Vancouver in 2010 and at 31, Pyeongchang was surely his last Winter Olympics.

3.  Comebacks

The stories of athletes getting to an Olympics after huge setbacks are always inspiring.

We were delighted to report on GB halfpipe skier Rowan Cheshire's seventh place in the women's final.

Rowan CheshireRowan Cheshire

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She'd been a medal hope at Sochi when she crashed badly in training and couldn't compete and has a slow and difficult return to the sport.

And there's Emily Sarsfield.  She didn't to to the Vancouver Winter Olympics because of a career-threatening injury, she was controversially not selected for Sochi, but made it to Pyeongchang at what must be the last chance for the 34-year-old.  She finished 16th.

And what about Lloyd Wallace?

Just getting to Pyeongchang was a small miracle.  The aerials skier could have died in a serious training accident last August.  He was placed in an induced coma after crashing heavily but his return to action was swift and he qualified for the Games.

He didn't make the finals but was just happy to be there.

Lloyd WallaceLLoyd Wallace

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


4.  Ester Ledecka

The most unexpected result of the Olympics must be the 22-year-old snowboarder from the Czech Republic shocking the world - and herself - by winning gold in the Super G.

She had borrowed skis from the American, Mikaela Shiffrin, and upset the world's best, including Lindsey Vonn who could only finish sixth.

The look on her face as the scoreboard showed she'd won was priceless.

Ester LedeckaEster Ledecka

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"No. Must be some mistake," she said, and then, when she realised it wasn't, "how did that happen?"

She went on to take gold in the Snowboard Parallel Giant Slalom - her main sport - becoming the first woman to win gold in two completely different sports in a single Winter Olympics.

5.  Men's slalom - Laurie Taylor

Yes, not Dave Ryding, though his ninth place was the focus of our coverage.

His GB teammate, 22-year-old Laurie Taylor, competing in his first Olympics, managed a superb Top 30 finish.  He was 26th - that's one place higher than Dave Ryding managed in his first Olympics - Vancouver in 2010.

Laurie TaylorLaurie Taylor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He is most definitely one to watch.

The men's slalom also contained one of our lowlights.

The overwhelming favourite, Austrian Marcel Hirscher, failed to finish his first run. He was aiming to become only the fourth alpine skier in history to win three golds in the same Olympics, having already won the alpine combined and the giant slalom.

6. Snowboard Big Air & Billy Morgan

Without doubt, a great addition to the Winter Olympic family.

Big AirBig Air - photo GB Park & Pipe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Both the women's and the men's competitions lived up to expectations in qualifiers and finals as the athletes threw their biggest and best single tricks off the huge kicker.

The women's final went to plan with the favourite, Anna Gasser of Austria taking gold.

The men's final on the penultimate day of competition was something else, with the pressure getting to many of the top riders.

Billy MorganBilly Morgan acknowledges the applause

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That was to the benefit of GB's BIlly Morgan, who didn't crack under the pressure and won an unexpected bronze.

7. BBC Sport coverage

Nobody does it better and Pyeongchang was no exception.

It is difficult to pick out individuals and moments as there were so many highlights, but we're going to anyway.

The freestyle skiing and snowboarding commentary by Ed Leigh and Tim Warwood was utterly brilliant, helped along the way by occasional and insightful cameos from James Woods, Murray Buchan and Jamie Nicholls.

In the UK studio Clare Balding was ably assisted by expert pundits, including Ed Drake, Ben Kilner and Chemmy Alcott.

Alcott even went to Korea for 48 hours to report on two alpine races and then immediately returned to the studio, remaining sharp and witty, despite the jet lag.

BBC Sport Winter Olympics studioBBC Sport studio

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LOWLIGHTS

1.  Katie Ormerod's injury

It was devastating for one of GB's top medal hopes to be ruled out before competition began.

Katie Ormerod & Jamie NichollsKatie Ormerod visited in hospital by cousin Jamie Nicholls - photo Jamie Nicholls

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Snowboarder Katie Ormerod was going for gold in both the slopestyle and big air events but was badly injured in training on the slopestyle course.  She fractured her heel, had emergency surgery and spent eight days in hospital in Seoul before flying home to more surgery.

She's only 20 and can still have her Olympic moment at Beijing in 2022 but we really felt for her.

2.  Women's Snowboard Slopestyle

The Pyeongchang wind that disrupted competition in the first week completely ruined the women's slopestyle event.

Qualification had to be cancelled and the straight final with all competitors taking part went ahead in terrible conditions.

Aimee FullerRiders struggled in gusty conditions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There was anger from some of the athletes who felt it should have been postponed.

UNSUNG HEROES

The GB Park & Pipe coaches behind Britain's two ski and snowboard medals and three top 10s in Pyeongchang.

They don't often receive the limelight and, because of that, we don't have photographs of them all, but let's hear it for freeski coaches Pat Sharples (head coach) and Jamie Matthew (assistant coach) and snowboard coaches Hamish McKnight (head coach) and Jack Shackleton (assistant coach).

Pat SharplesPat Sharples





























Jack ShackletonJack Shackleton

























Roll on 2022.....

Beijing 2022Coming next .... Beijing 2022




















MAIN PHOTO:  Andy J Ryan/Team GB

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