Bright gets cross spot for triple challenge

Sun Jan 26, 2014 12:26am EST
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By Nick Mulvenney

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Torah Bright will realize her ambition of becoming the first snowboarder to compete in all three events at a Winter Olympics next month after being awarded a spot in the snowboard cross race, the Australian Olympic Committee said on Sunday.

The 27-year-old Australian had already qualified to defend the halfpipe title she won in Vancouver and compete in the slopestyle, a new event in Sochi where competitors perform tricks through a course of jumps and rails.

Her place in the cross event, where boarders go head-to-head in a race, was dependent on other countries giving up quota places, though, and it was not until the weekend that her spot in the 24-strong field was confirmed.

"I am thrilled and cannot wait to seize my moments in Sochi," Bright said in a news release.

"A year ago I started the journey where I dared myself to qualify for three snowboard events in the Olympics. This is an Olympic journey done my way.

"More than anything it's about sharing the sport I love with the world. This has been a journey of exploring what is possible for me on my snowboard and challenging myself like never before. Today I can say that I realized that goal."

Bright, who comes from Cooma in the foothills of Australia's Snowy Mountains, was already an X-Games star before winning gold in her second Olympics four years ago.

She initially resisted the idea of competing in all three events when it was suggested by her coach and brother Ben, but embraced it at the start of last year before embarking on an arduous qualification schedule.   Continued...

Australia's Torah Bright competes during the women's Snowboard Slopestyle Finals at the FIS Snowboard World Championships in Stoneham, Quebec, January 18, 2013. Bright finished third. REUTERS/Mathieu Belanger