Last Night saw the throwingest throwiness that female boarding has to offer as the ladies Olympic Halfpipe hit Cypress Mountain near Vancouver. The field was packed with talent and there was some sh*t hot riders in there too (bu-dum-crssshh). With a strong and highly anticipated US team of Gretchen Bleiler, Hannah Teter and Kelly Clark, as well as Aussie Double Corker Torah Bright and even GBs own Lesley McKenna representing.
Unfortunately for Lesley a stack on the first hit of both of her Qualifying runs meant that she was quickly out of contention, a real shame as she has a good run when it goes right. It was a sad and frustrating end to an Olympic career that has spanned 3 winter games but Lesley insists that she will stay in the game and continue to coach youngsters.
With only one heat in the qualis for the smaller female field, Torah Bright, Kelly Clark, Spanish shredette Queralt Castellet, Hannah Teter, Gretchen Bleiler and Chinese Zhifeng Sun took the top six spots to advance straight to the finals and the following 12 ladies had to battle it out in the Semis.
The Semis saw Czech hopeful Sarka Panchakova fall out of the competition leaving a finals field that had such names as Ursina Haller (Christian Haller’s sister) taking the final spot, Elena Hight from the US and relatively unknown Holly Crawford taking the top spot with some impressive riding.
The Finals was, unlike the men’s comp, down to the wire. Torah, like many of the girls, fell on her first run earning herself a massive score of 5.9 putting her dead last, which Hannah Teter gladly ate up, laying down a solid run of front 9, back 5, front 3 and cab 7 to score 42.4 to take herself clear into the lead. The other Yankee contender Kelly Clarke also didn’t have an ideal first run only grabbing a score of only 25.6.
Torah ran first in the second set of runs but did she let that get to her? Hell no, she had everything to win and nothing to lose and she proceeded to throw an immaculate run, big, smooth and tech. Straight off the bat there was a back 3 followed up with a switch McTwist 7. A back 5, air to fakie and Cab 7 all well above the coping and stomped cleanly gave Torah a 45 dead. Although we didn’t see her fabled double cork Torah had played safe and nailed a tech run. The race was on.
Gretchen Bleiler who had also scored low in the first run couldn’t keep it together and stomping the 7 she had fallen on the first time stacked it on the follow up. Kelly stepped up and with her usual bad singing to her head phones as she dropped in showed what she could do. A frontside air was quickly followed by a back 5, front 7, Cab 7 and front 9 however she scraped the landings of a couple of tricks losing herself some amplitude but earning herself a 42.2 sitting her into Bronze for the moment. Last up to Run was Hannah Teter, the gold medal holder from Torino dived into the pipe with every chance of bettering Torah’s score and although throwing down a great run it just wasn’t up to the standard of her previous attempt and The Young Ms. Bright had held on.
A mention must go in here to Queralt Castellet of Spain who, after some very impressive riding in the qualifiers took her straight to the finals, injured herself during practice for the final round and was not even able to compete. Many had seen her as an outside chance and it certainly would have added a good twist of lemon to the proceedings and cooked up the competition even more than it already was!
This sexy little piece was released earlier this week and show Torah practicing double ‘corked’ (double somethings) in the pipe:
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Check out the TTR video below which shows Torah talking about her career: