Tue, Feb 11, 4:01pm by Brad McGrath
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AUSTRALIA has got off to a tough start at the Winter Olympics with several of our medal fancies failing to reach the podium.
The great hope in the Women’s Slopestyle, Torah Bright, finished seventh in the event she was warm favourite in after being penalised in both of her runs in the final for touching the snow.
Bright, 27, will now defend her title in the half-pipe even that she has dominated over the last four years since winning gold in Vancouver.
Another Aussie to be left empty handed was 2006 gold medallist Dale Begg-Smith who crashed on his second run in the mens moguls to fail to qualify for the final.
Australia does have two live chances heading into the final three rounds of the moguls with Matt Graham and Brodie Summers still in the hunt.
Australian speed-skating hope Daniel Greig took a fall in the early stages of his first run in the 500-metre race to finish with the worst accumulated time of the 39 competitors.
The fall meant he recorded a time of 80.55 seconds in the first run, giving him no chance of finishing in the medals as the podium is decided by a cumulative time through the two runs.
Young Aussie Britteny Cox finished fifth in the final of the women’s moguls, behind Canadian winner Justine Dufour-Lapointe.
She had a strong first run in the final, scoring 20.88, but her second run was the key, as she combined strong speed with solid landings to almost snatch Australia’s first medal.
Torah Bright will enter the half-pipe event as hot favourite to defend her Olympic crown, but the Cooma-born star has another issue to contend with the athletes competing in the competition heavily criticizing the course.
“The people who are constructing the course aren’t the greatest at their craft and it makes it challenging for us,” Bright said.
Bright is the $2.25 favourite with Sportsbet to continue her dominance in the half-pipe despite the troubles with the course.
American Kelly Clarke is on the second line of betting at $2.63.
Bright’s hopes will go on the line from 9pm tomorrow night.
In the men’s half-pipe Aussie hopes Nate Johnstone and Scotty James will attempt to end the dominance of dual Olympic champion Shaun White who is favourite to become the first man to win three consecutive snowboarding medals.
The qualification round for the mens half-pipe begins from 9pm tonight.
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