Billy Morgan will shake off the mother of all hangovers to carry the British flag in tonight’s Winter Olympic closing ceremony, writes James Toney in PyeongChang.
Morgan went soaring through the air to claim snowboarding big air bronze on Saturday. Expect him to come back down to earth some time next week.
Morgan is 28, an old man in a young man’s sport but still a big kid at heart, painting the town, red, white and blue in the ultimate apres-ski celebration last night.
And he admits not remembering coming home, pushed into the Olympic Village on a luggage trolley. He later posted a picture of himself looking worse for wear after waking up.
“We went out for a party and everyone came, we had a great time,” he said, after becoming named as the first snowboarder to carry the flag.
“I was in bed pretty early, I sent it too hard, too early and peaked out.
“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 and lead everyone out, it’s crazy.
“Everybody has worked for a long time to get here, there’s a lot trials and tribulations that all the athletes have been through and so to be asked to lead everybody out for the closing ceremony is an honour.
“I’m not planning anything special, I don’t need to plan things. I’m pretty nervous just thinking about it.
“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.”
Team GB chef de mission Mike Hay insisted Morgan, certainly not your conventional sportsman, was the right choice for the ceremony, which will close Britain”s most successful winter Games, with five medals eclipsing the four won in Chamonix 1924 and last time in Sochi.
“I’m slightly worried he gets to the right stadium and carries the flag the right way but he’ll do a great job,” joked Hay.
“His reaction was very humble and really looking forward to it.
“Billy became a bit of a people’s champion 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.”
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