Torah Bright

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Torah Bright eyes fourth Olympics in 2018

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Torah Bright has only competed once in the last two and a half years, but the Australian Olympic snowboard champion acknowledged on Thursday that she does plan to compete in the PyeongChang Winter Games.

Bright gave the word of approval on an Australian TV morning show (video here).

Bright is arguably the greatest Australian Winter Olympian, winning halfpipe gold in 2010 and silver in 2014. She competed in three snowboarding events in Sochi — halfpipe, slopestyle (seventh) and snowboard cross (18th).

Come February, Bright will be older than any previous Olympic halfpipe medalist.

“Let’s just say I will not be doing three events again,” she said in August 2015, according to the Australia Olympic Committee. “Maybe two. Halfpipe and slopestyle are essentially the same thing if you are riding. They help each other.”

Bright’s only contest in the last two and a half years was the Laax Open in January 2016. She finished second in halfpipe behind U.S. Olympian Arielle Gold. The world’s best riders, Kelly Clark and Chloe Kim, were not at that event.

Bright last competed at the Winter X Games in 2015.

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MORE: Kelly Clark hopes to add more Olympic bib to historic wall

Farrington, Bright and Clark talk women’s halfpipe final

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Kaitlyn Farrington couldn’t believe that she had emerged as the new Olympic women’s snowboard halfpipe champion.

One wonders if many of those who observed Wednesday’s final felt the same way after the Idaho native narrowly won the gold over Vancouver halfpipe winner Torah Bright of Australia.

Farrington had posted the best semifinal score to advance into the main event and she had been considered a medal contender going into Sochi.

VIDEO: Meet Kaitlyn Farrington, America’s new sweetheart

But the prospect of beating all three former Olympic gold medalists in the final – Bright plus two of Farrington’s own teammates, Kelly Clark (2002) and Hannah Teter (2006) – seemed low.

Instead, Farrington sprang a surprise.

“I was hoping to make the finals, that was my main goal,” Farrington said afterwards. “And then during finals, I thought if I land a good run, I might be on the podium. So to come out on top–I just can’t believe it.

“I can’t believe I was sitting there in front of the last three gold medalists. It’s crazy. Snowboarding is changing so much. It’s anybody’s game on any day.”

VIDEO: How did they pull off their halfpipe tricks?

Bright was almost able to defend her crown despite a fall on her first run. Her second run earned her a strong 91.50, but that was just a quarter of a point shy of Farrington’s best, a 91.75 on her own second run.

“It was perhaps one of the hardest events I’ve ridden in, in a long time,” said Bright. “It was just really challenging. I’m just so happy the night’s over really and that I was able to put down a run.”

Then there was Clark, who showed the determination that’s made her the most decorated snowboarder in history.

On her first run, she had slammed onto the ledge of the pipe and then fell into it. That put the pressure firmly on her as she went out on the last run of the competition.

But the ’02 Salt Lake winner still went right for Farrington and Bright, breaking out a 1080 as part of a clean trip through.

VIDEO: Farrington a refreshing winner

It wasn’t enough for gold as the judges gave her a 90.75, but it allowed her to go past Teter and earn the bronze – her third Olympic medal in four tries.

“If I didn’t win, I’m glad someone from the U.S. did, because we’re going to get to see our flag raised and hear our national anthem,” Clark said.

All in all, a fun night at Rosa Khutor.

Kaitlyn Farrington of U.S. wins gold in snowboard halfpipe; Bright gets silver, Clark gets bronze

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Kaitlyn Farrington has become the second of three American snowboarders to win gold in Sochi after making the U.S. Olympic Team via a win in the final Olympic qualifying event.

Last month, both Farrington and Sage Kotsenburg punched their tickets to Sochi through victories at Mammoth Mountain, California.

Now, four days after Kotsenburg won in men’s slopestyle, Farrington (pictured, center) has followed suit in the women’s halfpipe.

VIDEO: Farrington wins gold

The Idaho native, who advanced to the final after posting the best semifinal score, improved upon a solid first run to take the lead with a second-run that got her a 91.75.

It would prove just enough to win, as Vancouver 2010 gold medalist Torah Bright of Australia (pictured, right) missed a second consecutive gold by a mere one-quarter of a point (second run of 91.50).

VIDEO: Watch Farrington’s golden run

Kelly Clark (pictured, left), the 2002 gold medalist in Salt Lake City, was the last to try and unseat Farrington. Clark hit the ledge and fell on her first run, but came back with a 90.75 on her second that was enough to get her the bronze. It’s her third career medal in her fourth Olympics.

VIDEO: Clark goes down hard during first run

Clark’s effort knocked teammate and 2006 Torino winner Hannah Teter off the podium. Teter had the overall lead following the first run with a 90.50 but fell on her second run, opening the door for Bright and Clark to come away with medals.

But atop the podium is 24-year-old Farrington, who, like Kotsenburg, is making her Olympic debut in Sochi. Her parents did everything they could to help her along the way, even selling off all of the cows from their family farm to help fund her training.

VIDEO: Torah Bright settles for silver

Now, they can say they raised an Olympic champion.

WOMEN’S SNOWBOARDING – HALFPIPE FINAL
Best of two runs
1. Kaitlyn Farrington (USA), 91.75
2. Torah Bright (AUS), 91.50
3. Kelly Clark (USA), 90.75
4. Hannah Teter (USA), 90.50
5. Rana Okada (JPN), 85.50
6. Xuetong Cai (CHN), 84.25
7. Sophie Rodriguez (FRA), 79.50
8. Shuang Li (CHN), 73.25
9. Jiayu Liu (CHN), 68.25
10. Mirabelle Thovex (FRA), 67.00
11. Queralt Castellet (ESP), 61.75
12. Ursina Haller (SUI), 48.75