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Canberra families on Sochi alert after bombs

Torah Bright portrait. Photograph supplied by Quiksilver. SHD Travel snow expo special report 2011.two_big_v2_simplelayer.jpg Photo: [email protected]苏州美甲美睫培训学校.auFamilies of local athletes with Winter Olympics medal hopes admit they are concerned by terrorist bombings in Russia, but the mother of defending gold medallist Torah Bright insists the snowboard champion is committed to competing at next month’s Games in Sochi.

Back-to-back blasts in the Russian city of Volgograd have killed at least 31 people, causing anxiety among families of Australia’s winter Olympians.

Bright, from Cooma, is one of the most recognisable faces on the Australian team after winning gold in the half-pipe at Vancouver in 2010.

But the 27-year-old admitted earlier this week she would have to consider her place if threats continued.

”If the political position gets any worse, I sure as hell won’t be risking my safety just for an Olympic Games,” Bright said from her base in Salt Lake City.

”As far as I know, I think it would be OK but I guess we’ll see when the time comes.

”I’m not too worried but if it comes down to countries saying ‘go at your own risk’ I would make a decision that would keep me safe.”

Bright’s mother Marion said suggestions her daughter could boycott the Games were premature and she was merely monitoring the situation.

Torah’s brother and coach Ben also planned to be in Sochi. Her sister Rowena competed at the 2002 Games in Salt Lake City, just months after the September 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

”[Torah] said if these threats were to continue she would have to look carefully at what was going on, because life and limb is not worth sport,” Marion Bright said.

”Yes, it’s a worry, and I think a lot of the athletes and families are worried about the threats that have been made.

”You just don’t dwell on it … she’s quite capable of making her own decisions.”

Bright’s parents won’t attend the Games but said it had nothing to do with safety concerns.

The Australian Olympic Committee issued a statement expressing its confidence ”everything will be done to ensure the security of the athletes and all of the participants of the Olympic Games”.

The mother of Canberra’s other medal prospect, aerial skier Laura Peel, said the situation in Russia was of ”huge concern”.

Teresa Harrington planned to leave Canberra for the US on Friday to follow the final month of her daughter’s build-up to the Games, but she would also be monitoring the situation in Sochi.

She planned to attend the Olympics, along with Peel’s father Bill Peel and her elder brother Stephen.

She said there had not yet been any direct warnings to the families of athletes, but she had faith in the judgment of the Olympic Winter Institute of Australia.

”I’ve been reading it the past couple of days and, yes, it’s a huge concern,” Harrington said.

”I’ll go unless there’s some really major reason to prevent me going. I will be monitoring it and I’ll talk to [Laura] at the time.

”I’m sure the Winter Institute will be monitoring it and they won’t want to put our athletes in danger, I’m quite sure.”

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