Torah Bright on her way to a second place Superpipe run at the 2008 Winter X Games. The Aussie start will compete in three events at Sochi next month.     Photo: Nathan Bilow/Associated Press

Torah Bright Makes Olympic History

Qualifies for three snowboard events

Reigning Olympic halfpipe champion Torah Bright is on a quest for a triple crown at Sochi next month. 

The Australian snowboarder qualified for three disciplines at the Winter Olympic Games—the first snowboarder ever to do so. She’ll compete in the halfpipe, snowboard cross, and slopestyle events.

Slopestyle, a sport where snowboarders launch off massive jumps and perform difficult tricks, will make its Olympic debut in Sochi.   

Snowboard cross isn’t a new Olympic event—it debuted in 2006—but it’s always a fun one to watch. It’s a race to the finish where four riders bomb down a half-mile-long obstacle course. Bright took up the event last year and has since competed in 12 snowboard cross races. 

Then there’s the halfpipe. Bright won Olympic gold in this event at the 2010 Vancouver Games and is a favorite to medal again in Sochi this year.

“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,” Bright said in a press release.

If you look at the decline in snowboard sales, it seems like the sport could use all the help it can get. Read our feature on why we think snowboarding is dead.  


Meanwhile, an unusually strong winter storm has ravaged the southern United States, stranding commuters, closing schools, and blowing semi trucks right off the road. States of emergency were declared in Alabama, North Carolina, Louisiana, and South Carolina as early as Monday in preparation for the winter conditions, but few were prepared for the near-total paralysis of major urban areas.

The weather has forced more than 3,400 commercial flights in the region to be canceled and another 2,000 to be delayed.

Atlanta in particular has turned into a traffic nightmare, with some commuters stuck on the road as long as 19 hours. Weary travelers even took to spending the night in grocery stores and pharmacies.

There have also been reports of hundreds of stranded students spending the night in libraries and gymnasiums, unable to return home.

In Texas, more than 300 traffic accidents have been reported since the storm began. In the city of Austin, police chief Art Acevedo says they are dealing with about 40 accidents every hour.

Although this may seem like an inordinate amount of chaos for just a few inches of snow, most people in the region are unaccustomed to driving in such conditions, and many cities lack the infrastructure to deal with even infrequent winter storms.