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Mormon Olympian Torah Bright inspires competitor to win bronze

Published: Thursday, Feb. 13 2014 11:40 a.m. MST

Women's snowboard halfpipe medalists, from left, Torah Bright of Australia, silver; Kaitlyn Farrington of the United States, gold; and Kelly Clark of the United States, bronze, pose with their medals at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014.

Morry Gash, Associated Press

Australian Torah Bright was the defending champion in the women's snowboard halfpipe after taking the gold medal four years ago in Vancouver. Although she came into the 2014 Sochi Winter Games with hopes of repeating her success, Bright was all smiles when she was awarded the silver medal Wednesday night.

But what stuck out to many who watched the competition unfold was Bright's friendliness to her American competitors throughout the competition, many commenting on the hugs Bright continued to give.

American Kaitlyn Farrington took gold as her teammate and 2002 gold medalist, Kelly Clark, took bronze. But as the three met on NBC's "Today" show a day after their competition, Clark said she wouldn't have made the podium without Bright's encouragement.

“This girl was a champ for me,” Clark told the "Today" show. “She saw how not in a good place I was, and she gave me a hug, let me go, looked at me and said, ‘You actually need another one.’ And so she just held me until I actually calmed down enough, and I slowed my breathing. It was good to have a hug from a friend."

When asked about why she would show this type of compassion during a competition, Bright spoke of her respect for Clark and for the sport.

“The Olympics is about inspiring others. I am a competitor — I want to do my best — but I want my fellow competitors to do their best, too. What is the Olympic dream without the best bringing their best to the table?" Bright told the "Today" show.

Several viewers commended Bright for her sportsmanship.

Email: spetersen@deseretnews.com

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