Torah Bright brings first Olympic snowboard Gold down under

19 February 2010 10:51

Torah Bright has claimed the 2010 Olympic halfpipe title at Cypress Mountain. The 23-year-old Aussie impressively came back after a stumble in her first run of the finals by earning the highest score of the night (45.0) thus ending the long time dominance of US girls in ladies Olympic freestyle snowboarding. Defending title holder Hannah Teter (USA), who had posted 42.4 points in run one couldn't answer Bright's flawless performance and had to do with Silver, closely edging off her team mate Kelly Clark to third (42.2). The 2002 Gold medallist had also thrown in a nice second run after falling in the first one thus preventing fourth ranked Jiayu Liu (CHN, 39.3) to take home the first ever Olympic medal for her home country.

An Aussie first

What the reigning World Champion from China didn't manage to do, Torah Bright did. The Australian flag carrier at the opening ceremonies not only clinched the first ever Gold but also the first ever Olympic snowboard medal for her home country. To do so, the top qualifier didn't even need to throw in her new trick, a double cork, which the scene expected her to do. But "it's not quite perfect," the Cooma native explained.

Instead, Bright, who had to open the second and decisive final round after falling in her first run coming out last with 5.9 points, put together a technical trick series which finally crowned her Olympic Champion. She started her Gold run with a backside 360 to a switch mctwist 720, a backside 5, air to fakie and an inverted cab 7 to finish things off.

"I was standing up there, and was like ‘there is nothing I can do now. Whatever will be, will be', " she said recalling her thoughts before dropping in again and nailing the perfect run which fulfilled her Olympic dream being also the perfect redemption for the 2006 Torino Games. Four years ago, Torah was also one of the top bets for the title but ended up fifth with many of the opinion that she got short change by the judges, but not last night.

US girls claim medals number four and five for their home country

But although she raised the bar with 45.0 points, Bright had to wait quite a while on the hot seat before being allowed to finally celebrate as ten more ladies had still a second chance, including at least four more girls likely to beat her score. But one after the other failed to do so. While 2006 Winter Games runner-up Gretchen Bleiler (USA) couldn't put together a clean run, her team mate Kelly Clark went for another medal to put to her trophy cases.

The 26-year-old so far dominating rider of the season threw in a frontside air to backside 5, frontside 7, cab 7 and a final frontside 9. But 42.2 neither brought her career's second Olympic Gold nor a first Silver as she finally placed in third, only 0.2 points behind of Hannah Teter, who had showcased a trick series consisting of method, frontside 9, backside 5, frontside 360, cab7 and frontside air.

But Clark was OK with the result as she was able to wipe out the disappointing fourth rank of Torino 2006. "I'm so happy to walk away with a medal tonight. Finishing with a medal it's incredible after I had fallen on my first run."

In the end, Torah Bright was the one to cheer out loud after an error-strewn final in front of some 3,500 amazed spectators including a lot of Aussies going mad with ‘oi oi oi' shout outs after she had stomped her last trick. While enjoying one of the greatest moments in her life Bright summed up: "It was a long but great journey. I don' think it quite sunk in yet."