Sochi 2014: Torah shines Bright in the half-pipe

Torah Bright (left) with fellow Australian snowboarders
Torah Bright (left) with fellow Australian snowboarders (photo: Australian Olympic team Twitter)

To represent your country at the highest level of competition is an absolute honour – to share a part of the spoils even more so.

Overnight, Australian time, snowboarder Torah Bright secured her second career Winter Olympics medal, claiming silver in the women’s half-pipe, with American Kaitlyn Farrington taking the gold.Final margin between gold and silver: just 0.25.

Having expressed concerns earlier in the week about the set-up and narrow passage, Bright qualified first through her heat in a quest to defend her Vancouver 2010 gold medal triumph.

After a fall in her first run, Bright nailed a sensational 91.50 to finish behind Kaitlyn Farrington – who rode before her – by the narrowest margin possible.  It is Australia’s first medal of the Sochi games, and Bright says it was never going to be easy.

“It was perhaps one of the hardest events I’ve ridden in, in a long time. It was just really challenging.

“I’m just so happy the night’s over really and that I was able to put down a run.”

Even after a couple of mishaps, the contagious Torah grin the Aussies have come to know never left the 27 year-old’s face.  A calm and collected demeanour, and a few words with brother Ben at the top of the mountain before each run, Bright carried the Australian flag high against strong competition.

Prior to the competition, it was not just Bright criticising the half-pipe; the word was coming from every camp, and American Danny Davis admitted the quality wasn’t there.

It’s not very good. It needs a lot of work because they hired the wrong folks to do it.”

With her brother, Ben, by her side at each and every turn, Torah’s admiration for Ben extends beyond simple coaching.

I’ve got to give a shout out to Benny, especially this past year, he’s been an incredible support to me. He has given so much to me. I love him, he’s my brother, but he’s a dear friend.

Family is so important to Bright, with her mother, Marion, supporting her from their home in Cooma, NSW.  Personal struggles have hit hard since the Vancouver title, from relationship separations and the loss of fellow skier and close friend Sarah Burke two years ago.

Attention has been no stranger to her of late, given the slashing comments made about the surface of the half-pipe course.  Competition was fierce on the night, and while Hannah Teter from the USA held the lead after round 1 with a score of 90.50, it was fellow American Farrington who eventually held on to the slender lead.

Regardless of the outcome at Sochi, Bright has stamped herself as one of the leaders of Australian winter sport.  The most prominent two weeks for all of these winter sports comes once every four years, and Bright is making the most of it – with an enthusiasm to boot.


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