Meet our Champions: Scott Morgan
Known as one of Team Canada’s most vocal cheerleaders (seriously – if you’ve ever attended a competition he’s attending, his cheering is hard to miss!), and the king of the Instagram hashtag, 27-year-old Scott Morgan of North Vancouver, BC was Canada’s sole representative in men’s artistic gymnastics at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
As the very first competitor to hit the competition floor, Scott laid down an impressive floor routine to score 14.966 which put him in 18th place. He then went on to place 14th on vault, and 27th on rings. One of Canada’s most decorated athletes at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, where he captured four medals - gold on rings and vault, silver on floor, and team bronze, Scott has been a fixture on the senior national team since making his international debut at the 2011 Pan American Games. Scott was recently named the 2016 Canadian senior men's artistic gymnast of the year.
NAME: Scott Morgan
HOMETOWN: North Vancouver, BC
CURRENT RESIDENCE: North Vancouver, BC
How did you first get involved in gymnastics?
I was very energetic when I was younger and loved all sports. After flipping around my house on rainy days, my parents figured a padded gymnasium was a much safer environment and enrolled me in a recreational gymnastics class. After a few short months I was put into our clubs young pre-competitive boys class and never looked back.
You’ve been involved with gymnastics for quite a while now. What has kept you engaged with the sport for so long (why do you love it!)?
I think the main reason why I’ve kept with it so long is because of how challenging the sport is. There’s always something to perfect or learn and when I was young it complemented so many other facets of my life. Whether it was for fun, or to win the next big competition, it has always kept me coming back for more.
You took a bit of a different path to the Olympics. Can you tell us a bit about that? What was it that made you want to recommit to competing at the elite level?
Entering high school was a game changer. So much more freedom, always meeting new people, more possibilities, it kind of took me by surprise and veered my path a bit. I ended up taking a step back from competitive gymnastics at 13 and put my extra time into sports like biking and skiing and signed up for our high school gymnastics team so I could still be involved in the sport. After years of juggling sports I realized where my potential lay and with the motivation of a close friend that was involved with a local high school gym team, I returned to elite gymnastics at the age of 18. Initially I had no intentions of pursuing the international level but the competitive side of the sport drove me to push myself and see what I could achieve. Needless to say, I think it was all worth it in the end!
The men’s team had a bit of a rough year last year with injuries, which hampered your ability to qualify a team for Rio. What do you think needs to happen in the next 4 years for Canada to qualify a team for Tokyo?
As I mentioned, gymnastics is a tough and competitive sport and with the recent push in difficulty worldwide, it put a lot of pressure on our team. Unfortunately the demand took a toll on our team and we suffered a few too many injuries on our quest to qualify a full 5-man team to the Olympics. I think the advantage Canada has always had is that there is so much love for the sport and we have some passionate veterans moving forward that will really help motivate and push our younger generation. We have a big group of talented athlete’s coming up and I think some healthy young blood will do great things for this team. I’m super excited to see what unfolds over the next couple of cycles.
What was it like to step on the floor at your first Olympic Games? How different was it to compete at an Olympics vs. a World Championships or Commonwealth Games?
Any World Championships or multi-sport games is an experience of a lifetime -- being able to compete amongst the world’s best and represent your country on the world stage. To some degree, I feel competitions like these are over looked or downplayed because as an athlete, competing at this level is one of the biggest honours. Unlike World Championships though, the Olympics happen only once every 4 years, and it’s for that reason that it’s on a whole new level. It’s the crowning jewel, and we could feel all the excitement, pressure, and determination the minute we marched out to compete. For that reason, it was a competition like no other and made the whole experience exciting for everyone.
Describe yourself in 3 words:
Caring, determined, powerful
What are your favourite things to do outside of gymnastics? (Hobbies, other sports, etc.)
I’m a huge fan of mountain biking! I like all kinds of sports but living in the mountains with some of the best trails in the world at your doorstep, it’s hard to ignore. My ideal day off would be a good cup of coffee and breakfast in the morning, a few laps of some local trails, and then capping it off by catching up with some friends over a game or two of pool.
Men’s gymnastics doesn’t generally get the same amount of attention as women’s gymnastics. Why do you think more young boys should get involved in the sport? Why do you think it’s awesome?
When people think of gymnastics, usually woman’s events like the balance beam or a floor routine to music come to mind (the amount of times I’ve been asked what music I use in my routine is astonishing!). I think a lot of people don’t realize how beneficial the sport is as a developmental tool for other avenues. Since there are more and more options available to youth these days I think people are catching on, but this is the angle I take to promote and engage younger athletes. We’re finding it more and more beneficial with teens as well when their maturing and finding their true strength and potential. For the kids that excel, and take a liking to the sport, there are endless opportunities and equally for those looking to pursue a different avenue. Georges St-Pierre is a perfect example of this!
You’ve said you’ll be looking to compete at the 2017 Worlds in Montreal – why is it important for you to compete at home? Why should people come out to see the competition?
Competing on home soil is an experience like no other -- having the country you so proudly represent right there beside you, cheering you on as you compete amongst the world’s best. The 2015 Pan American Games were a perfect example of this; the energy inside that arena was unbelievable. World Championships may not be an Olympic Games but the level of the competition doesn’t get any better and it truly is a competition of the world’s best. It’s for this reason that I think people should come and witness what years of hard work and determination looks like. It also gives our younger generation a chance to so see their fellow Canadian competitors or peers compete on the world stage and shed some light onto what’s possible, and why we do what we do day-in day-out in the gym.
What’s the best advice you ever received?
You can only control the controllables. It’s not about your competitors, the judges, the crowd – it’s about what you do on the competition floor and your performance. Compete against yourself, not your competition.
- Sean Verret
“The greatest pleasure in life is doing something people say you cannot do."
- Walter Bagehot