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Bright start at Sochi


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It’s the first leg in a triple header never before attempted at a Winter Olympics, yet it would take a brave person to bet against Torah Bright having a good deal of success.

The 2010 Winter Olympics halfpipe champion dreamed big for the Sochi Games – becoming the first person to tackle three snowboard disciplines at the quadrennial event.

On Sunday phase one reaches its conclusion when Bright competes in the final of the slopestyle competition.

Her performance in qualifying second in her heat augers well for Australia’s first podium finish of the Games in just the second day of competition.

It’d be equal to the earliest the national team has picked up a medal at a Winter Olympics and would set the scene for Bright’s other events – halfpipe and snowboard cross.

Not to mention the confidence it would imbue in her teammates who are hoping to pull together at least another three medals to make these the most successful Winter Games for Australia.

Bright’s brother and coach Ben says that regardless of the result there’s plenty to like about his sister, who should go down as one of the greats of her sport.

“I think it (competing in three events) will stand the test of time,” said Ben, who hatched the three event plan for his younger sibling a little over a year ago.

But the evolution of Torah Bright goes beyond the sport itself.

Seemingly always upbeat and happy to talk about snowboarding, the megawatt smile can now come with an edge.

Bright said she’d pull out of the Games if the security situation worsened, she was dismayed about the excesses of the Olympics and railed against the Australian Olympic team’s social media policies.

When she arrived in Sochi she called out the slopestyle course as not being constructed by the best course builders and even had a dig at some of the quirks of the Russian experience such as dirty tap water.

Confident in her place in the sport’s world order with her third Games now underway, it’s no surprise she garners the full backing of her brother.

“I support her and if she has something to say I respect it because she is a supreme athlete,” he said.

World champion Spencer O’Brien from Canada and American Jamie Anderson will be the early favourites in slopestyle on Sunday but Bright, a world championship bronze medallist in this new Olympic sport, would be on the next line of betting.

Other Australians in action on Sunday are Alex Ferlazzo, who’ll be taking his third and fourth runs in the luge and Callum Watson who is competing in the 15km skiathlon.

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