Who is Scotty James? Well, he’s no longer an underdog.
Four years ago, Scotty James of Australia won the bronze medal in the men’s halfpipe at the Pyeongchang Games in South Korea, becoming Australia’s first male snowboarder to win an Olympic medal. Now, James is looking to upgrade his title, and his medal, by taking home the gold.
James is competing in his fourth Olympics and serving as his country’s flag bearer for a second time. He made his Olympic debut at the Vancouver Games in 2010, when he was just 15 years old, where he competed in men’s slopestyle and halfpipe.
James, 27, grew up in a suburb outside of Melbourne, Australia’s second most populated city. By his mother Celia’s account, he first stepped on a snowboard at age 3, after his father bought him a display board for $10 and introduced him to the sport. From the time he was about 10, James said that he and his mother would head to the United States for six months for training while his father would take care of his three siblings in Australia. James told Forbes that stints in Europe also became part of his training.
He turned professional in 2008. At 15, James became one of the youngest Australians ever to compete in the Winter Games and the sport’s youngest male competitor during the Vancouver Olympics. He did not advance to the final, but his international career was only beginning.
James has competed in 42 World Cup starts with 11 podium finishes, including six first-place finishes. In 2019, James set a record for consecutive world titles, adding to wins in 2015 and 2017, by taking halfpipe gold at the World Championship in Park City, Utah. This January, he won the gold medal in halfpipe at the X Games in Aspen, Colo., — his fourth in the event — where he defeated rival Ayumu Hirano of Japan, considered this year’s top seed. At the 2018 Winter Games, Hirano came in second place, just ahead of James, for his second consecutive silver medal at the Olympics.
After winning the bronze medal in the 2018 Olympics, James, who has been known to wear red gloves that resemble boxing gloves, celebrated being the “underdog” — a snowboarder hailing from a country that’s synonymous with great surf as opposed to perfect snow. But he also had a message about his future.
“I can assure you I am just getting started,” he told The Sydney Morning Herald.
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