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Bright gets cross spot for triple challenge

Australia's Torah Bright competes during the women's Snowboard Slopestyle Finals at the FIS Snowboard World Championships in Stoneham, Quebe
Australia's Torah Bright competes during the women's Snowboard Slopestyle Finals at the FIS Snowboard World Championships in Stoneham, Quebe

By Nick Mulvenney

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Torah Bright will realize her ambition of becoming the first snowboarder to compete in all three events at a Winter Olympics next month after being awarded a spot in the snowboard cross race, the Australian Olympic Committee said on Sunday.

The 27-year-old Australian had already qualified to defend the halfpipe title she won in Vancouver and compete in the slopestyle, a new event in Sochi where competitors perform tricks through a course of jumps and rails.

Her place in the cross event, where boarders go head-to-head in a race, was dependent on other countries giving up quota places, though, and it was not until the weekend that her spot in the 24-strong field was confirmed.

"I am thrilled and cannot wait to seize my moments in Sochi," Bright said in a news release.

"A year ago I started the journey where I dared myself to qualify for three snowboard events in the Olympics. This is an Olympic journey done my way.

"More than anything it's about sharing the sport I love with the world. This has been a journey of exploring what is possible for me on my snowboard and challenging myself like never before. Today I can say that I realized that goal."

Bright, who comes from Cooma in the foothills of Australia's Snowy Mountains, was already an X-Games star before winning gold in her second Olympics four years ago.

She initially resisted the idea of competing in all three events when it was suggested by her coach and brother Ben, but embraced it at the start of last year before embarking on an arduous qualification schedule.

"I could not have done it without his vision that powered this journey," Bright said of her brother.

"It's all just snowboarding, so I've been enjoying very much. There has been a lot of travel and a lot of events.

"But being on this journey has given me so much joy, that it's made all the hard work, long days and busy schedule enjoyable and worth it. And as they say, nothing worthwhile is ever easy."

Bright splits her year between Australia, New Zealand and Park City, Utah, where her sister Rowena competed in alpine skiing at the 2002 Winter Olympics.

(Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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