Celebrity Sweat with Torah Bright: Women's Halfpipe Olympic Champion
Torah Bright is an Olympic Champion for Australia once again!
In the 2010 Winter Olympics, Torah took home the gold medal for the women's halfpipe competition and this year she snagged herself a silver. I had the privilege of meeting Torah before the 2014 games, and interviewing her for Celebrity Sweat. Getting to know the personal side of Torah made it even more exciting for me to watch her earn Australia's first medal at Sochi. Here's how our conversation went...
Considering you started as a downhill ski racer, what made you transition to snowboarding?
" Skiing was what we did as a family. As a kid, I would stop to see snowboarders while roaming the mountain and used to call them all sorts of names. We did not like snowboarders. But I was 11 years old when my brother Ben, who is now my coach, wanted to try snowboarding, and I was like mum could I try snowboarding too? And that was the end of it. After that day we both told mum that we loved it so much. "
How do you handle all the pressure that comes with the Olympics?
" Balance is the key word. I have been snowboarding professionally since I was about 15 years old, so as a young kid snowboarding was my job, in a sense, but I always found it fun. Traveling the world and competing has got its pressures but I always find a way to have fun. "
As a snowboarder, how do you train in the gym?
" I have one rule when I train--I'll do anything but I like to keep running to a minimum. I'm not exactly built to run. Any gym work I do is mostly recovery stuff. Recovery is more important than trying to build strength. Mostly, I just try and keep an active lifestyle. "
What is the hardest part about being a snowboarder?
" I hate the cold. I've had a handful of days where it was just brutal. When it gets as cold as I am talking about its pretty hard to stay warm. But this year Roxy makes a cypher jacket, like an under layer that has heating elements. It fits under my coat and definitely helped me get through those colder days. And of course the hand warmers are brilliant for your hands and toes. "
Is training for the olympics all fun or all serious? When do you finally take a break from it all?
" You have to be a little serious. After contest season is over, all the editorial shoots and sponsor commitments start and then its like okay, I need a break! "
You carried the flag for Australia during the 2010 Winter Olympics opening ceremony in Vancouver. What was that like?
" It’s funny you ask that because that almost is my most memorable and proud moment. It was very unexpected. I had no idea that they would ask me to do that and when I was asked into the office I thought I was in trouble. I thought I did something wrong! I was just kind of shocked they asked me and that was truly my proudest moment. When I walked into BC stadium leading the whole Australian Olympic team I was so nervous...more nervous than I've ever been. My heart was just thumping. That experience was incredible. "
What's it like being coached by your brother?
" Ben is 2.5 years older and as kids we were always good friends. We’re siblings so naturally we have our moments. But when it comes down to it and we are on the mountain, we get the job done. "
You're Mormon, how does religion play a role in your sport?
" I don’t know whether it does play a role in my sport necessarily. It’s just me...it’s the way I have chosen to live my life. I definitely say a little prayer to keep us safe. I find myself doing it before big events and I’m just like 'okay, just keep us all safe'. As a young kid, when I first started traveling for work, religion was a huge comfort to me. I prayed if I needed help or felt homesick and a little burden was lifted. "
You have your own signature line of outerwear for Roxy called the Bright Series. Is that a lot of work?
" The Bright edition has been around for 5 years. I work with the designers as far as technical features go and they use my feedback from wearing and testing all the gear on the hill in all kinds of conditions. I give the designers my inspiration whether it's colors, patterns, cuts--whatever it may be--they put it all together and translate it into something that will work. "
What's the most important piece of outerwear for you?
" I focus most on the jacket. The jackets change a lot over the years. The Vivid jackets we designed have a straighter fit, cute big hood, and color blocking. "
You walked in the 2013 Red Dress Collection Fashion Show to show your support for heart disease prevention. What did you wear and how do you stay heart healthy?
" Nicole Miller was the designer I wore. That event was really exciting for me since Nicole fit me for the dress. I grew up with a very health conscious mother, and eating right was always number one. But of course I have my way and like to indulge. I find the 80/20 percent thing works best--I like to focus on eating well during the week and the weekends just have some fun. "
Photo courtesy of UPI /Monika Graff (source)
If you weren’t a snowboarder today, what might you be doing?
" As a kid, I would play around with all sorts of dreams. I wanted to be a race care driver...a florist...a jewelry designer, so I don’t know. I think I'd still love to be a race care driver, and I can’t wait for a time when I can make and design jewelry. "
Top photo of T. Bright from 2014 Olympics courtesy of Getty Images/Cameron Spencer (source)