So far, so good for Aussies in Sochi
As the Winter Olympics enter their final slalom, skate and sleigh this weekend, Australia seems destined to finish the Sochi Games outside the world's top 20. To date our medal tally stands at three, with two silver and a bronze, but with none of our remaining athletes in serious contention to make the dais that is where our haul will likely finish.
It was the the beaming smile of Torah Bright that kicked things off in the snowboard half-pipe. The defending gold medallist from the Vancouver Games coming agonisingly short of defending her title but was still thrilled to take silver. Bright pulled out a flawless run that was judged to be just 0.25 points shy of top spot. The 27-year-old becoming our second female dual medallist after Alisa Camplin in the process.
“I don’t care about the colour of the medal, life isn’t about winning,” said Bright after her spectacular performance. “It’s about putting your best foot forward, it’s about sharing your light and I’m happy, I’m so happy to be here.”
Our medal haul continued in the aerial skiing, with Lydia Lassila, another defending gold medallist from four years ago, claiming bronze in the women's event. Lassila, who had become a mother since her last Olympic triumph, also became the first women to perform a “full, double, full” in Olympic competition.
“I was always going to go into these Olympics with that approach, all or nothing," said Lassila, who had to settle for bronze after failing to cleanly land one of her jumps in the final. "I'm very happy with my performance. It would have been great to land that jump but I was stretching for my life and… I just couldn't get there."
David Morris went one better and exceeded all expectations by taking silver in the Men's aerials, becoming our first male athlete to medal in the event. Having finished 13th in Vancouver Morris gave up on the sport for a year but now has a silver medal to show for his exploits – something he had previously only dreamed of.
“I’ve seen this before in my dreams. I’m not sure if this is happening,” said Morris reflecting on his second placing. “I wanted to cry, I wanted to spew. I nearly had a breakdown. I can’t describe how good it is.”
Having claimed a gold medal in each of the last three Winter Olympics, Australia had high expectations heading to Russia. The goal was to finish in the top 15 in the world, but our current tally sees us currently sit in 22nd place. While some would see this as a disappointment, try telling that to Bright, Lassila and Morris who've shown they're amongst the world's best in their snow field!