February 13, 2014 – 5:58AM
Relieved: Defending champion Torah Bright of Australia has won silver in the Snowboard Women’s Halfpipe finals. Photo: Mike Ehrmann
Australian snowboarder Torah Bright has won a silver medal in the ladies’ halfpipe at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park.
Australia’s first podium finish at the Sochi Winter Olympics came after a nerve-racking start to the final for the 27-year-old from Cooma in NSW’s Monaro.
“I feel great, I feel like I won,” Bright told Channel 10. “I’m so excited … I’m a clutch performer, I pulled it out luckily.
“I’m definitely going to hit the dance floor tonight.”
After failing to perform all her manoeuvres in her first run, Bright was placed ninth before her final attempt to defend the gold medal she won at the Vancouver Games.
The always-smiling athlete was composed and performed strongly on her second run, scoring 91.50.
This placed her in the silver-medal position, in between Americans Kaitlyn Farrington (91.75) with gold and Kelly Clark (90.75) with bronze.
Bright danced and shimmied on the podium as she was awarded her medal shortly afterwards.
Earlier, Bright had stormed through to the final of the ladies’ halfpipe.
The Australian won her heat with a slick first run, attracting an impressive score of 93 from the judges.
American Clark, who is considered the greatest threat to Bright winning back to back Olympic titles, was slightly better scoring 95 for her best ride in the first heat of the afternoon.
It sets up an intriguing battle between the pair as Bright attempts to defend her Olympic title won in Vancouver four years ago.
“It is always a showdown (with Clarke),” Bright said. “We are going to bring our A-game and we’re going to be wonderful fierce women out there and put on a great show.
“I hope the runs I do can ooze the passion I have for snowboarding, and add a little bit of style in there.”
Earlier, 22-year-old Stephanie Magiros snuck through to the semi-finals in ninth position with a score of 57.25, edging out teammate Hannah Trigger (51.25).
Magiros failed to reach the finals after scoring 20.50 and 26.50 in the semis.
The Olympic dream of Holly Crawford ended when she crashed twice in qualifying.
The casts on each of her wrists in the mixed zone explained the pain she had competed in, having crashed three weeks ago in training.
“I attempted to break my wrists in preparation for the Olympics,” joked the 30-year-old. “Banged me knee up pretty good and likely cracked some ribs.
“I’m a little bit sad. Coming in hasn’t been great. I’ve been off snow for three weeks, although that’s nothing new for me so there is no reason this should hold me back.”
Source: The Sydney Morning Herald