Torah Bright won Australia’s first gold of the Vancouver Games in women’s halfpipe Thursday, ending long-standing US domination of the sport.
Bright’s winning score was 45.00 points, with 2006 champion Hannah Teter of America scoring 42.4 and her team-mate and 2002 gold medallist Kelly Clark on 42.2.
“I was standing up there, and was like ‘there’s nothing I can do now, whatever will be, will be’,” she said as she recalled how she felt going into her last run.
“I don’t think it’s quite sunk in yet.”
Bright, who notched just 5.9 points in her first run of the final and went first in her second run as a result, heaped the pressure on everyone else in the field and none of the riders was able to respond.
In an error-strewn final, almost all of the boarders failed to match their qualifying scores in front of more than 3,500 spectators under the lights on Cypress Mountain.
Bright’s win was only Australia’s second medal of these Games and followed men’s moguls silver for Dale Begg-Smith in freestyle skiing.
The 23-year-old, who was fifth in Turin, is currently fifth in the World Cup rankings.
A strong Chinese contingent, currently dominating the World Cup standings, entered the final with high hopes and Liu Jiayu finished just outside the medals. Her team-mate Sun Zhifeng was seventh.
Highly fancied US snowboarder Gretchen Bleiler, silver medallist in Turin, only managed 14.7 after falling both times.
The United States has taken every Olympic gold in men’s and women’s halfpipe since the Nagano Games in 1998.
US star Shaun White took gold in the men’s competition Wednesday.