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Billy: I'm riding better than ever
BILLY Morgan is in the form of his life as he prepares for the Winter Olympics.
The 24-year-old is among four snowboarders who will get Team GB up and running at Sochi 2014 on Thursday.
The Southampton star has put off surgery on his right knee after rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament and media cruciate ligament.
Now he is less than a week from his Olympic debut, with the Slopestyle qualifiers starting the day before the opening ceremony.
Despite having to wear a brace on his right knee to compensate for the lack of an ACL, Morgan believes he is snowboarding better than ever following his recent experience at the prestigious Winter X Games in Aspen, Colorado.
He just missed out on qualifying for the final of the invitation-only event, but was buoyed by the outing.
“When I was younger it was all about the X Games, I didn’t know about the Olympics,” he said. “The X Games is massive and the standard’s insane.
“Two weeks after I blew my knee I got the invite and was devastated that I wasn’t going to be able to do it.
“But I had a positive ride after rehab and it was a really good and fun experience.
I was quite happy with my riding and everything went fine.
“I‘m riding better than I have ever ridden.”
Jamie Nicholls, Jenny Jones and Aimee Fuller, who will also arrive via the Winter X Games, will compete alongside Morgan when Slopestyle makes its Olympic debut on February 6.
With a specialist category for freestyling skiers as well as snowboarders, Slopestyle will give the Games a new dimension.
“All of us are excited for each other and for snowboarding,” said Morgan, who does not expect this to be his last Olympics.
“I’ll be competing against 17 year-olds as a 24 year-old, but I hope to be able to go to more than one,” he said.
“There’s no reason why I can’t carry on snowboarding into my late 20s and early 30s if I stay healthy and up with the competition.”
Since rupturing his ACL and his MCL, Morgan has been focused on a strict rehabilitation programme under the guidance of Totton-based physio Dean Cook.
But he will not undergo surgery straight after the Games.
“I’ll probably go to the US Open after the Olympics and then hang out and find some snow and ride for fun,” said Morgan, who finished fourth at last year’s World Championships.
“I’ll do some filming and feel what it was like to fall in love with snowboarding before it hurt so much. It will be good to just hang out.”
The British Olympic Association is the National Olympic Committee for GBR and NI. The BOA prepares the ‘Best of British’ athletes for, and leads them at, the summer, winter and youth Olympic Games. The BOA is dependent upon fundraising income to achieve its mission. www.teamgb.com @TeamGB
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