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Local Heroes Olympic Adventure

SOOHORANG the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic mascot. Credit : Sagase48 / Shutterstock.com

Just after 11am on the morning of the 9th of February, reigning women’s skeleton champion and Southampton based Lizzy Yarnold led Team GB out at the PyeongChang Olympic Stadium in South Korea as the 2018 winter games got underway. 

With 59 athletes competing across 11 different sports, Team GB are targeting a minimum of five medals in what would be a record haul, surpassing the final tally of four won by British athletes at the 2014 Russian games in Sochi.  

However hopes of reaching that target took a significant knock as it was announced that 20 year old snowboarder Katie Ormerod had fractured her right heel in training just a day after she had fractured her wrist falling from a rail. 

The medal hopeful from Yorkshire said that she was “gutted” after dreaming of competing at the event for years. Speaking via her Instagram on Friday she said "Yesterday sucked, I was determined to still train, compete and do my best but I guess it just wasn't meant to be.” 

"I severely broke my heel into two pieces…words can't describe how gutted I am but thank you to everyone for all your support and kind words! Also a massive good luck to my team-mates competing this weekend. You guys better kill it!”.

The south coast will be well represented at the games with several competitors and medal hopefuls either from or based in the region; including reigning olympic champion Lizzy Yarnold and snowboarder Billy Morgan. 

Lizzy Yarnold: Women’s Skeleton. 

Between 2013 and 2015 British slider Yarnold managed to win every major title in women’s skeleton, collecting the Grand Slam of Olympic, European and World Cup titles though the 2013/14 season before winning gold at the 2015 World Championships. Lizzy is only the second athlete, and the first British slider to hold all of the Grand Slam titles simultaneously, managing to do so in the space of only 407 days.

This season Yarnold has finished in the top three of the World Cup just once, claiming a bronze at the first race meet in Lake Placid, USA. Yarnold herself admitted it hasn’t been the best season, "It's been an up and down World Cup season”.

The 29 year old had her first practice runs in PyeongChang on Wednesday and was happy with her training times which placed her fifth, just behind fellow Briton Laura Deas. speaking about the quality of the track she said "The Alpensia track is quite different to when we have been here before. The ice is absolutely perfect, super hard."

Andrew Musgrave: Cross Country Skiing.  

Born in Dorset cross country skier Andrew Musgrave finished 7th in the 30km ski-athalon just 20 seconds outside fo the top three. The result is the best by a British cross country skier at an winter olympic games surpassing his own record of 29th set four years ago in Sochi. 

Musgrave's result comes after a good string of performances in the last 12 months, including a fourth place finish in the 50km freestyle at the 2017 World Championships, as well as a first World Cup podium in the 15km freestyle in Italy earlier this season.

After the race Musgrave was disappointed after being in the medal race until the closing kilometres. He said “It's a decent result but I'm not at the Olympics to come seventh. I'm here to fight for a win”. With his stronger disciplines to come Musgrave will be hoping to better his seventh and win a first British cross country medal in the coming weeks. 

Billy Morgan: Snowboarding (Big Air & Slopestyle). 

Southampton born and bred Billy Morgan failed to qualify for Saturdays slope style final after placing twelfth in his qualifying heat. The Team GB Snowboarder was seventh after his first run recording a score fo 56.40, far lower than he is capable of. After falling on his second run Morgan dropped to twelfth position with only the top six of each semi-final heat progressing to the final. 

Morgan learnt to snowboard aged fourteen at the Southampton alpine centre dry slope and is considered one of the most talented riders on the circuit. In 2015 Morgan landed the worlds first ‘backside 1800 quadruple cork’, a trick in which includes four flips and five rotations.

He won his first X Games medal in February 2016 in Oslo, Norway. Finishing third in the big air competition, an event which makes its debut at this years PyeongChang Winter Olympics. Its will arguably be Morgans best chance at an olympic medal and will take place on Wednesday 21st ebruary,  starting at 09:30 Korean time ( 00:30 UK time). 

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