If you’re a sports enthusiast, then making it to the Olympics might well be a dream come true for you. Standing on the winning podium and holding a medal doesn’t only bring personal satisfaction but also the whole nation’s ovations.
Of course, the road to the Olympics isn’t an easy one. It takes a lot of grit, hard work, and most importantly, perseverance. With Team GB sending the largest group of athletes to compete in Tokyo 2020, joining the ranks of olympic competitors may not be too far-fetched.
Today, we look at the journey of ex-Olympians, from the training room to the Olympic stadium. Sometimes, you just need a little inspiration.
Billy Morgan – world-class snowboarder
During the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, Great Britain took home one gold and four bronze medals. One of the bronze medals went to Billy Morgan, who aced the Big Air competition – quite an emotional moment for Team Great Britain, which caused a few tears to be shed.
In contrast with his big success, Billy Morgan is a relative latecomer to the sport. This proves that it’s never too late to excel in a discipline and overtake the Olympics as long as you have the dedication for it.
Before taking on snowboarding at the age of 14, he had the aspiration to become a professional acrobatic gymnast. But as soon as he went to a dry slope for the first time at his hometown, Southampton, Morgan fell in love with snowboarding.
His excellence in acrobatic gymnastics only helped him to become one of the best performers of world-class tricks. There are only a few snowboarders in the world to ace a triple rodeo, and Billy Morgan is one of them. The trick was even captured on film in 2011 and has gained millions of views on YouTube.
Four years later, Morgan became the first snowboarder to land an extremely challenging trick: a backside 1800° quadruple cork. This involves a whopping four off-axis flips and five full rotations. What a legend!
Snowboarding is the type of sport where there are no limits in terms of how much you can progress. Just like the 2018 Olympic champion says: “And when it comes to fruition, it is unbelievable”.
The journey starts with the motivation to learn new skills. Enrolling on a snowboard instructor course, for example, can help take your abilities to the next level. The course is comprehensive and teaches you a number of tricks you need to be able to perform for the final exam. Who knows, after practising and teaching professionally for a while, you might strive to reach Olympic level.
Jason Kenny – Britain’s most successful Olympian
Jason Kenny harnessed his love for track cycling at the early age of 15 and specialised in individual and team sprints and keirin as a youngster.
After showing astute sportsmanship during several European and world championships, Kenny was selected to compete for Great Britain at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. He won the gold medal in the team sprint alongside Chris Hoy and Jamie Staff, and finished second after Hoy in the individual sprint, taking home the silver.
It was during the 2016 Rio Olympics that he levelled his medals with Chris Hoy, who had been bearing the title of ‘Britain’s most successful Olympian’ for quite a while. The following 2020 Tokyo Olympics saw the heyday of Kenny’s career. He overtook Sir Chris Hoy by winning seven gold medals and becoming the new holder of the prestigious title and making Olympic history.
On the last day, he rode astonishing 0.763 seconds ahead of Malaysia’s Azizulhasni Awang at the Izu Velodrome. “It is easy to forget the hard work that goes into it. I have been disappointed this week, I haven’t been as competitive as I wanted to be. But in the keirins, you can race hard and ride your luck a little bit”, commented Jason Kenny.
But the Olympic titan hasn’t been on this journey on his own. His wife, Laura Kenny, who also holds the title of Britain’s most successful female Olympian, has been beside him the whole time.
If you want to follow in the footsteps of an Olympic track cyclist, then pick your trails and start learning the ins and outs of the sport.
Following the legacies of some of the most astute Olympians isn’t easy. But the pathway to success starts from the heart. As long as you truly want it, you can achieve it! For now, why not take inspiration in watching the upcoming Winter Olympics in Beijing?