A proud member of Team Australia, Torah Bright will be competing in Sochi at the 2014 Winter Games. To stay up on the latest from Torah and the other Dew Tour athletes, keep an eye on NBCOlympics.com.
The Women’s Snowboard Superpipe Final went down today directly following the men’s showdown at the Dew Tour iON Mountain Championships in Breckenridge, Colorado, making for a day full of pumping pipe excitement. Given that the event was an USSA-sanctioned Olympic selection event, the women went harder than ever to assert their dominance in the pipe.
Mirroring the qualifier format, the eight elite riders were each given two chances to tear up the pipe in an effort to prove they deserved the Dew Cup and a spot on the U.S. Olympic Snowboarding Team.
With USSA selection points on the line, the deep field of U.S. superpipe riders were a focal point all week long.
When the U.S women compete in Sochi, they know that their predominant international competition will come from Torah Bright. The 26-year-old Australian topped all the Americans four years ago in Vancouver, and today’s contest provided an opportunity to see how she stacks up with the Americans nearly four years later.
Bright posted only the fifth-highest score at Wednesday’s qualifying round, but clearly had not even begun to reach deep into her bag of tricks. She was the third rider to drop in the superpipe final and immediately set the bar high. Landing a McTwist, air to fakie, cab 720, frontside 540, a frontside alley-oop and a backside alley-oop rodeo, Bright posted a huge score of 95.4 that looked like it would be hard to touch.
If there was one rider expected to match Torah’s technicality, it was multiple-time Dew Cup champion Kelly Clark. The Vermont native threw a big frontside air, backside 540, frontside 1080, cab 720, frontside 540 and frontside 720 in her first run, but was unable to knock Bright off the top of the leaderboard.
While Bright and Clark were the heavy favorites entering the weekend, 13-year-old Chloe Kim has been turning heads during her time here at Breckenridge. Her breakout week continued today, landing two solid runs that both wrapped up with back-to-back 720s at the bottom of the pipe. Her second run score of 89.4 put her just a tick behind Clark in the standings. Although Kim is too young to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Snowboard team this time around, today’s appearance on the podium proves that she’ll be a force in the sport for years to come. Kim’s best run consisted of a backside air, frontside McTwist, crippler 720 to cab 720 and finishing with frontside 720.
“I’m really happy with my run,” said Kim elated with her performance. “I tried to mellow it out on the first run. When I landed that I wanted to go bigger on my second run.”
As the winner of the qualifying though, Clark had the advantage of being the last rider to drop, meaning she knew what would be required on her final run. Things were set up for a dramatic finale, but Clark washed out on the third hit and had to settle for 2nd place. This left Bright on top following a lap in pipe for fun just before Clark’s.
Speaking to her second run, where she opted to put on a display of “soul slashes,” “if I did my run any better I don’t think I would have gotten anymore points.” Bright went on to talk about her riding in general these days saying, “My whole idea with my riding right now is that I want to do a run that is memorable. I want to do it big, I want to do it smooth and stylish. I’ve got more tricks to work in, but I’m just riding to the beat of my heart these days.”