SOUTHAMPTON’s Olympic hero Billy Morgan has “every chance’”of a civic reception upon his return to the city following his bronze medal at the Winter Olympics.

The 28-year-old snowboarder was chosen as Great Britain’s flagbearer for the closing ceremony in Pyeongchang as the games came to a close yesterday.

Shirley Olympian Billy was the athlete to take Great Britain to its record haul at a winter games and hit their target of five with a bronze medal in the big air competition.

Friends and family watched on at the View Bar as Billy, who was the second of 12 qualifiers to take to the ramp, scored 168.000 for his two best jumps. Canada’s Max Parrot crashed on his final jump, confirming Billy’s medal.

Now, leader of Southampton City Council Simon Letts said Morgan has every chance of a civic reception when he comes back into the city from South Korea.

Cllr Letts said: “I was chuffed to bits to see what happened with Billy, absolutely thrilled.

“Of course I will sit down with the mayor and see what we can do. He has every chance of a civic reception and we would love to welcome him into the council chambers when he returns.

“I think he deserves a bit of a break now though and I’m sure some more celebrating.”

Billy, who started snowboarding at the age of 14 at Southampton Alpine Centre, said he hoped his medal had inspired people to carry on with sport in schools.

He said: “My dad, grandad and brother were all in the Navy but I’m the odd one out. I didn’t really get on well with academic stuff but I hope we’ve inspired everyone to do their sports.

“I hope people think of me as a normal guy. The Olympics was never part of my ambitions when I started because our event wasn’t in the games. I know how much it means now though.

“All my mates were watching back in the pub in Southampton, I think they had a pretty big one.”

One of those 60 people watching was Billy’s friend and former manager of the alpine centre, Mike Hurd, 46.

He said: “It was an amazing night, to all be here and experience his fantastic achievement is special. Everything he does he gives 100 per cent and we all believe he’s earned this moment and his Olympic medal.”

Eddie, Billy’s dad, said: “I’m so proud, he’s achieved so much in snowboarding, this is the best.”

Dean Cook, Billy’s sports physio said: “Billy worked so hard on his recent knee injury, training to build up strength in preparation for the Olympics. He had to spend a lot of time off his snowboard and instead was focusing on strength conditioning and rehabilitation on his knee. His efforts have rewarded him, truly deserved.”

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