Torah has the Bright stuff for Sochi success

Fri Jan 24, 2014 12:53pm EST
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By Nick Mulvenney

(Reuters) - If life was a snow-covered mountain, Australia's Torah Bright would be the one plunging down the black runs and ploughing through the powder off-piste.

Never one to take the easy path, Bright may yet come up short in her bid to take part in all three snowboard events in Sochi but even attempting the audacious feat was indicative of her strong spirit of adventure.

Although she is third reserve for the snowboard cross, the 27-year-old will definitely defend her halfpipe Olympic title as well as compete in the new slopestyle event next month.

Bright broke through into the consciousness of most of her compatriots when she carried the Australian flag in the opening ceremony in Vancouver and picked herself up after a string of concussions in training to win halfpipe gold.

By the time she had become her country's fourth Winter Olympic champion, though, Bright was already a star on the X Games circuit with sponsorship deals and earnings to match.

The Vancouver title pushed her into the elite of winter athletes who earn millions from their sport but it nearly did not happen at all after she spent two weeks sidelined with migraines.

"Pre-Olympics I was concussed, I didn't know if I was going to compete, I spent more time off snow than on snow just sitting in a dark room and just kind of recovering," she recalled last November.

Finally given the all-clear to compete, Bright crashed in her opening run to stand 11th but nailed her second attempt to set down a score none of her rivals was able to match.   Continued...

Gold medallist Torah Bright of Australia, poses with her medal during the medal ceremony for the women's halfpipe at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, in this file photo from February 19, 2010. REUTERS/Todd Korol/Files