Two Gold Medals No Pipedream For Torah

Image courtesy of olympics.com/Getty Images
Torah Bright can become the first Australia to defend a Winter Games gold medal. Image courtesy of olympics.com/Getty Images
Torah Bright had a sniff of a medal in the Snowboard Slopestyle event on Sunday (AEST), but her seventh-placing was no great surprise. She’s the first person to compete in three separate snowboard events at a Winter Games, and her only serious chance of claiming a gold medal comes on Wednesday night (AEST) when she tries to repeat her victory in Vancouver 2010 in the halfpipe.

Bright focused much of last season on snowboard cross, which is her weakest event, but importantly she came up victorious in her only halfpipe appearance. That was in Breckenridge, Colorado, which also doubled as trials for the US Games team. Her score of 95.40 was good enough to knock off her main rival in this event, American Kelly Clark . Bright sat out the X Games in Aspen in January, and Clark was untroubled in taking out her fourth straight halfpipe title in that event.

Clark is at her fourth Games but only has one gold to show for it, from her debut in Salt Lake City in 2002. She finished third behind Bright in Vancouver, but with the Australian taking an extended break from snowboarding after her win at the last Games, Clark dominated the World Cup circuit and was almost impossible to beat for almost two years. She won three of the five Team USA qualifiers, despite having the likes of Hannah Teter – 2006 gold and 2010 silver medallist – jumping against her.

Bright has competed in just a handful of halfpipe events since her return, but she has two victories to her credit; as well as the win at Breckenridge at the end of last year, she also came up trumps at Copper Mountain in Colorado at the start of 2013 when she again relegated Clark to second spot. She finished seventh in Sochi 12 months ago with fellow Australian, Holly Crawford , finishing runner-up behind Clark. Crawford is in with a shot in this event given her record on the big stage having taken out the world championship in 2011 and backed that up with a second placing in 2013.

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