Bright shines at Dew Tour
15 December 2013
SNOWBOARD: Reigning Olympic snowboard halfpipe champion Torah Bright has taken out the prestigious Dew Tour superpipe title in Breckenridge, Colorado.
Bright had her work cut out for her, with the event acting as an Olympic selection event for the American snowboard team - so the competition was as hard as it gets.
Bright had notched the fifth-highest score at Wednesday's qualifying round, but in the eight-woman final, proved she had a lot more to give.
The third rider to drop into the superpipe final, Bright landed a McTwist, air to fakie, cab 720, frontside 540, a frontside alley-oop and a backside alley-oop rodeo - pulling an impressive score of 95.4.
One of Bright's toughest competitors is the USA's Kelly Clark, the 2002 Olympic champion who has won the Dew Tour multiple times. After topping the qualifying round, Clark was the last rider to drop into the pipe - providing her the advantage of knowing exactly what she needed to pull off a win. After a great first run that edged her close to Bright but not close enough, Clark put it all on the line in her second run failed to execute her run.
This meant that the gold and glory went to Bright who was elated to take the win. She used her second pass as a “display run.”
“If I did my second run any better, I don’t think I would have gotten any more points,” Bright said.
“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 on but I’m riding to the beat of my heart these days.”
The opportunity to defend her Olympic title now seems even better than ever. She also looks set to compete in Slopestyle at the Sochi Games and is also trying to qualify in boardercross. Three events would be an amazing achievement in itself.
Rounding out the podium in Breckenridge was young-gun Chloe Kim, the surprise package of the competition. Why so surprising? Kim is a mere 13 years old - definitely a name to remember for the future.
In the men's superpipe, Aussies Scotty James and Kent Callister were 5th and 12th resepctively, in a final that was full of upsets for the world's top riders.
Superstar Shaun White appeared to miss his pop near the bottom of the pipe on a backside double cork 1260 attempt, forcing him to hit the pipe wall.
"I missed the take off and it just came around too slow. I had the mess-up, but it happens," White said of his first run mishap.
White's teammate Scotty Lago was looking for redemption in the pipe from last year's competition, but it wasn't to be. Lago was forced to settle for 11th, two places higher than the other hot favourite - Swiss rider Iouri Podladtchikov (aka I-Pod).
Podladtchikov is one of White's key threats for Sochi gold, but he was unable to challenge for the lead following a fall on his first run.
It was US rider Greg Bretz who stepped up, nailing top spot with a first run of 91.40. A fall in his second run meant that Bretz was unable to improve on his score, leaving White the opportunity to take the top prize.
White didn't hold back in the second run, despite tweaking his ankle which he said afterwards had played on his mind, but he didn't put down one of his trademark clean runs and after a tense wait at the bottom of the pipe, was awarded 90.4 putting him in second place and giving Bretz the win.
Third place went to Taylor Gold but it was the 5th placing by James that waas one of the encouraging of his career, ahead of his second Olympic campaign. James is set to qualify in both halfpipe and slopestyle in Sochi, and is looking to be in top form as the Games draw near.
Competition continues at the Dew Tour with Russ Henshaw looking for a podium finish in the ski slopestyle.