The Snowy Mountains is not short on Olympians, particularly of the winter variety.? I can remember spending an entertaining few hours in a shearing shed on the Monaro High Plain listening to the boss, the late Bruce Haslingden, tell stories of his adventures as a member of Australia?s first Winter Olympic Team, attending the Oslo games in 1956.?? Bruce was at the games to compete in the Cross Country events but he would have fared better if they had a triathlon style event where you had to ski?10 kilometres,? shear a sheep, ski another 10 kilometres,? split a tonne of fire wood, then ski another 10 kilometres before trapping and skinning 20 rabbits because all Bruce did for training was what he would normally working on a property in the Snowy Mountains. Times have changed and looking at the standard of competition at the games today, it is no surprise that competitors on Australia?s winter Olympic team spend a lot of time training and competing overseas.?? Torah Bright is a perfect example of this. Born and bred in Cooma, with a childhood spent on the snow at Perisher, she realised early on that there was more to Snowboarding than just chillin? in the park.? Over the past decade she has created a career for herself in the world of Snow Boarding but until she won a gold medal in Vancouver she was better known over seas than she was in her homeland.?? However her role? as part of Australia?s most successful Winter Olympics team has changed things.?? On Saturday the 10th of April the town of Cooma hosted a? Welcome Home parade for all of the Snowy Mountain?s 2010 winter Olympians, including Torah Bright.?? And to kick things off in style Aeropelican, the new Snowy Mountains air service operator flew Torah?s family to Cooma as the first official flight to the mountains.? With hundreds of people? at the ceremony a new Olympic monument was unveiled in honour of all of the Snowy Mountains Olympians from the 2010 team of Torah Bright, Jono Brauer, Ben Sim, Craig Branch, Scott Nella,? and Jenny Owens all the way back to Bruce Haslingden and the team of 1956.? After the unveiling?? vehicles of the Cooma Classic Car Club? ferried the VIP?s in a cavalcade down Cooma?s main street, thronged by an enthusiastic? crowd of young and old from all over the mountains.? With a long history of Winter Olympic participation, Torahs gold medal is? a reward for the work of all? past Snowy Mountains Olympians? as well as an inspiration to those young hearts throwing confetti from the footpath.? As their? heros roll past.
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