When I think of the greatest female athlete of all time, names like Serena Williams, Billie Jean King, Steffi Graf, Cathy Freeman and Jacqueline Joyner-Kersee come to mind.
An emotional Torah Bright said there “was more to life than snowboarding” after her seventh place in slopestyle, the Australian rider competing with the death of a friend’s child on her mind when she took to her first event of the Winter Olympics.
Shortly before the opening ceremony Bright posted about the tragic incident on Facebook and she used it to power her in competition on Sunday.
She could be seen to tap her heart before she launched into the slopestyle course and also shared an emotional hug with American winner Jamie Anderson.
“To me those relationships matter more than anything and it was really hard for me to be over here,” Bright said.
“I just had to get myself in a good place and tapping the heart chakra is very much a part of that.
“But I came to the conclusion that I need to be strong for them and I was going to give them joy by snowboarding my little heart out.”
The inspiration couldn’t quite get Bright into medal contention however, the 27 year-old slightly off the pace in the new Olympic discipline.
It was the first jump on both her runs in the final that brought her undone, Bright handslapping on the landings to lose valuable points with the judges.
She finished with a highest score of 66.25.
Anderson took out the event with a superb final run, laying down a marker of 95.25 that would not be topped.
Finland’s Enni Rukajarvi (92.5) was second while Great Britain’s Jenny Jones (87.25) was third.
Bright, the Vancouver gold medallist in the halfpipe four years ago, will now turn her attention to that discipline which is contested on Wednesday.
The first ever snowboarder to put her hand up for a three-event program at the Games, she will also compete in the snowboard cross.
“I think that was a wonderful representation of female snowboarding today. I’m proud to be a part of it,” Bright said, adding she’s be fighting fit for the halfpipe.
“I’m in good nick, still smiling and I love snowboarding.”
After a series of injuries in the men’s competition, and the withdrawal of American superstar Shaun White, Bright did maintain that the course wasn’t up to scratch.
“It’s kind of history now all of that. But I stand by my word that the level of build in the freestyle events doesn’t match the level of rider. I’m not whinging. It’s just the way it is,” she said.
Nor perhaps the judging.
“Judged sports are so hard. In a way you do kind of ride to what they are judging for. But then what they say they are judging for they don’t necessarily judge for. It is so hard and very rarely are people happy with the results,” she said.