Congrats to Miss Torah Bright. The Australian poster-girl of snowboarding has scored a Silver Medal.
I was born and bred in Austria but I’ve been living in Australia for almost a decade. So I give myself bragging rights for both nations. And depending on whether it’s Summer or Winter Olympics, I might sometimes be more Australian than Austrian or vice versa.
Having said that, I’m always extremely proud when an Austrian scores an unlikely medal in the Summer Olympics. And I was absolutely stoked for Torah that she took out the Silver medal in the Half Pipe. I did feel for Aussie skier Dale Begg Smith after stacking it and I was excited for the Aussie Ski Gidget Greta Small to finish the downhill within the top thirty.
I’m usually not one of those fanatics that watch a lot of sport on TV but somehow the Olympics manage to draw me in. It’s amazing to see world class athletes giving their best, chasing the Olympic dream with successes and failures so finely divided. My favourite Olympic stories are the victories of underdogs, outsiders, unexpected winners. They are the ones who make history. No one will ever forget the most unexpected Gold medal in history by Stephen Bradbury. ‘Doing a Bradbury’ has made it into a slang dictionary and in the local lexicon means winning something almost in spite of yourself. And who doesn’t remember ‘Cool Runnings’?
You may wonder what all this has got to do with surfing? Well, I’m still convinced surfing will make it into the Olympics one day… as Snowboarding did not so long ago.
And cautiously optimistic I’m hoping that there are still not too many Austrian female surfers and I should have a realistic chance to start for Team Austria. Lucky I’m Austrian because I would not have a snowflake’s chance in hell to even get close to the Australian Surfing team. But Austrian team, yes, I think that’s do-able considering there are only three or four ladies competing in the current Austrian championships. So fingers crossed, one day I’ll be going for Gold. Well, ok maybe not for Gold but hey it’s all about the Olympic spirit and making it there, isn’t it? I would be like the Australian skier in the Winter Olympics or the Jamaican bob team… Maybe I’ll be the Austrian undergidget at the surfing medal ceremony.
And so you know I’m not making this up. There is a real campaign going to make surfing Olympic. Here’s what the International Surfing Association (ISA) has to say about ‘Surfing and the Olympics’:
“In the past few years the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has dramatically evolved in its view of the so-called extreme, or contemporary, sports and their place in the Olympic Movement.
The very positive effect of the inclusion of snowboarding in the Winter Olympic Games has also been a great wake up call for many. Another example of this positive evolution is the inclusion of BMX beginning in the 2008 Beijing Games.
One of the ISA’s jobs is to continue the path begun by Hawaiian surfer and multiple swimming Olympic Gold Medal winner Duke Kahanamoku, who in 1920 asked the IOC to include surfing in the Olympic Games. This was Duke’s dream. It is the ISA’s responsibility to fulfill the Duke’s dream. “
Until then, I’ll keep practicing …and dreaming. What’s that saying again…You have to allow yourself to dream before your dreams can come true.