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Interview with Team GB Snowboard Star, Billy Morgan

clock 5th February 2014 | comment0 Comments


As far as the UK goes for competitive snowboarding, they don’t get much bigger than Team GB favourite Billy Morgan. He picked up his first snowboard at the age of 14 in Southampton’s Alpine centre , and shot to fame in 2011 after performing a world’s first triple rodeo flip (to you and me, a triple backflip).

It’s been 2 years, 6 world cups and some costly injuries, but the young slopestyle hopeful achieved his goal of qualifying for Sochi 2014 by being in the top 30 in the world whilst meeting the UK’s quota.

With favourites such as Shaun White (US) and Torstein Horgmo (Norway) out of the competition, it leaves Morgan tipped to bring back the gold for Great Britain, in an event filled with tricks and huge air.

Igluski caught up with him.

What kind of training is involved for freestyle snowboarding?

For most of the year it’s all about getting the hours in on your board, working on different tricks, filming and having fun etc. But when the days are good it’s time to get to work. I’ll try and treat the day like a competition day, get to big tricks as fast as possible, repeat them and then the time for progression presents itself. It's then that you can start to work on putting extra things on your big tricks.

Do you have a favourite ski resort?

I like Breckenridge to ride and Morzine or Mayrhoffen to Party.

Bucket list riding location?

Alaska, Japan, Park city and Jackson Hole.

You were recently injured in training, how has your training changed to get back on the board?

I did have a bad fall in September at a snow dome in the UK. I fully ruptured my ACL and MCL which I thought ended my route to Sochi. But I spent two months with a good team of specialists in rehab working hard every day. I got back snowboarding in December.

You recently posted back to back triples on a practice at the X-games, how did the knee feel?

Ahh that was a mental day, I didn't make finals but was training in case someone dropped out as I had the reserve spot. I got my run down and my coach urged me to try it. I knew I needed to at some point so gave it a wang. The knee was absolutely fine. It’s been pretty good since Christmas, just takes a run or two to warm it up haha.

What do you do to relax before competition?

Straight after I’m stoked to just get down the hill and jam with my friends, it all depends on where I am. I love a bit of table tennis.

What are you most looking forward to at Sochi 2014? Any other events you’re keen to watch?

I’m not sure what to make of it all, I’m stoked to watch the other guys on the team compete and really want to see the figure skating down in Sochi. Mad respect for that lot.

Any tricks up your sleeve you’re saving for Sochi?

Sadly no, I haven't saved anything crazy. Maybe I should have.

Check Out Billy Morgan's Triple Rodeo, here



Craig Pickering's Cool Run on the Road to Sochi 2014

clock 24th January 2014 | comment0 Comments

Excitement for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics reached fever pitch this week with the long awaited announcement of Team GB.

We caught up with former Olympic sprinter, Craig Pickering, who has been selected for the Team GB bobsled team, to hear his thoughts on this huge achievement.

Craig, Congratulations on qualifying for Team GB for Sochi 2014. What did you do when you heard you made the Olympic Team?

I was just relieved to have made it! I knew that once our second 4-man sled had qualified for the Games that I was almost certainly going to be selected, and so that was the major hurdle to overcome. We qualified in the last possible race, so it was quite a stressful few weeks, but in the end it all turned out fine.

It's not your typical British Saturday morning sporting activity, how did you get into bobsledding?

I used to be a sprinter, and I needed a back operation in March 2012 which ruled me out of the 2012 Olympic Games. Due to this, I lost my lottery funding, and so I needed to either get a job or find a sport that would provide me with some funding. I wasn't at all keen on getting a job, so the best option seemed to be finding another sport. My athletics coach and one of my training partners were already involved in the bobsleigh set up, so they put me in contact with the Performance Director, who was keen to give me a try out. I went to a few testing days and did very well, so the next step was to do some racing, and I haven't looked back since.

How have you found the transition from summer to winter Olympics?

Physically it hasn't been too difficult, as I was already a high performance athlete. The hardest thing physically has been putting on weight - I'm currently 16kg heavier than when I ran my best 100m time. This requires eating a lot of food and spending time in the gym. It can be really hard to eat enough food, as you are always full and it becomes hard work. The most difficult aspect has been the technical transition. It’s quite difficult to learn a new skill quickly, especially when there are three different positions in bobsleigh that I could possibly race at, but I have tried my best to become proficient at all of these positions.

Tell us about the fundraising efforts made for the team?

I'm fortunate enough to be supported by UK Sport and Lottery funding, so I haven't had to do any fund-raising efforts this year.

Have you always had an interest in winter sports?

I've never really been into winter sports before. As a professional sports person it’s probably not a good idea to ski or snowboard as there is a pretty high risk of injury. My girlfriend likes to snowboard, so once I retire I expect I’ll do some of that with her.

Do you have a favourite ski resort?

St Moritz is excellent as it’s the only natural bobsleigh track in the world, so it’s quite a different experience.

What other Olympic events are you looking forward to seeing?

I enjoy watching ice hockey, so will try and watch a few of those games. I also know a few of the bob-skeleton athletes so will be following their progress closely too.

How many times a day are you faced with references to Cool Runnings?

It happens quite a lot! I guess as it’s the only thing Joe Public knows about bobsleigh it’s going to happen quite a bit.I just smile and nod.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of our interview with Craig as he prepares for the first Winter Olympic experience. The Sochi 2014 kicks off 7 February 2014 with Craig and the rest of the bobsled team hitting the track 16 February. We wish the team the very best of luck and look forward to a month of gripping winter entertainment.



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