033: Billy Morgan Part 1/Risk and Reward

Billy at Corvatstch. Photo: Mellish

“If I hadn’t landed the quad the first time, I wouldn’t have done it again. Because I remember landing and thinking ‘Oh my god, I’m alive’. Because there was so much pressure to get there first”.

It’s a Pyeongchang 2018 special this week as I caught up with UK snowboarder and Olympian Billy Morgan a scant week before he flew out to Korea to compete for Team GB in the Olympics.

Billy with the usual deep send, this time in Quebec. Photo: Mellish

Billy is one of the UK’s most respected and popular riders, who by sheer hard work and physical talent has hauled himself to the top of the world snowboarding scene from the unlikeliest of starting points.

He came up through dryslope and seasons in the classic UK fashion, but along the way has transformed himself into a world-renowned snowboarder with a top ten Olympic place in Sochi and at least two world snowboarding firsts to his name.

Photo: Mellish

Ahead of his second Olympics and on the day Team GB was announced, I headed to Southampton to catch up with Billy. I was interested in chatting to him about his life and career, finding out how he deals with the pressures and risks that come with his line of work.

Photo: Andy J Ryan/Team GB

It was a really honest, revealing conversation this. Listen out for Billy on:

This is a story of pressure, on and off the snow, about dealing with risk and fear, and about how you can translate immense physical gifts into an amazing career against some pretty incredible odds. As you’ll hear, Billy is a total one-off. Thanks for coming on the show boss!

If you only have five minutes…

Listen to this section - Billy on dealing with fear and risk

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Show Notes

  • Team GB announcement
  • The four-year cycle.
  • Kitting out.
  • The ‘Brand Police.’
  • Last minute preparations.
  • Billy’s mood ahead of the head of the Games.
  • Stomping Grounds Frontside Triple.
  • GB Park & Pipe Livigno Airbag Sessions.
  • The difference in approach between riding an airbag and a normal jump
  • Tweaked knee.
  • Psychologically dealing with this late injury.
  • The Pyeongchang slopestyle course.
  • Dealing with the downtime between Olympic events.
  • Olympic Village conditions.
  • Billy’s Olympic goals.
  • ‘Game management’ during the Olympic contests.
  • Billy’s planned final run.
  • Rise of Chris Corning.
  • Billy’s triple rodeo – 2013.
  • Billy’s quad – 2015.
  • The pernicious influence of ‘cool’.
  • How Billy’s feats riled the trolls.
  • The reaction from the riders.
  • Billy’s early years as a skater, snowboarder and rollerblader.
  • Developing an ability to responding to social pressure.
  • The gymnastic and acro training years.
  • How it helped Billy’s future career.
  • How Billy visualises progression and new tricks.
  • The building blocks for new tricks.
  • Doing the work.
  • The Quad arms race.
  • First attempts with the Legs of Steel crew.
  • The importance of coach Hamish McKnight in Billy’s career.
  • How Hamish works.
  • UK snowboarding’s unique place in the snowboarding firmament.
  • How the UK background prepares our riders in a unique way.
  • Judging prejudices.
  • Billys post-riding options.
  • Coping with risk and increasing levels of fear.
  • How Billy manages his approach to risk – and how that is changing.
  • Marcus raising the game.
  • A different future in snowboarding.
  • Billy’s downtime.
  • Fighting the social pressures.
  • Dry January
  • Monsoon March
  • Post Olympic Sri Lanka trip.

People Mentioned

Places Mentioned

  • Manchester
  • Korea
  • Laax
  • Livigno
  • Japan
  • Canada
  • Norway
  • Keystone
  • Morzine
  • Zurs
  • Calshot
  • Japan
  • Sri Lanka
  • Bali

Companies/Brands/Organisations Mentioned