Warrandyte’s own, Snowboarder Scotty James, has become Australia’s second medal winner at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, winning Bronze in the men’s halfpipe.
Following a hard fought battle with American Shaun White and Japan’s Ayunu Hirano, James was graceful in surrendering the top positions in the dais to his two rivals as he spoke to Channel Seven:
“Shaun is an amazing athlete and he has achieved a lot of great things. He achieved another awesome feat in his career today,” he said.
“Hats off to Hirano as well. He is one of the most flawless snowboarders I know. It is cool to watch him.”
The young athlete does not plan to rest on his laurels, James’ trajectory is upward.
With an already impressive lineup of sponsors, and an enviable lifestyle taking him around the world doing what he loves, this medal is seen by many to be James’ taking things to the next level.
“My goal is to come out here and ride as best I can and fly my Australian flag in the sport that is not necessarily done by many Australians,” James told reporters after Wednesday’s final.
“I am very proud of my country and where I come from but I can assure you I am just getting started.
“You can expect to see a lot more of me in the future. Me and my team, we are excited to keep going.”
James, who carried the flag for Australia in last Friday’s opening ceremony said: “I work so hard, and it is at times like these, obviously we are still focused, but you have to enjoy these experiences”.
“That is why we work hard … to enjoy these experiences as much is possible. I did that today. It was cool.”
However, never forgetting his roots, he told the media, for the moment that he was looking forward to getting back home to his ‘beloved Warrandyte’.
And Warrandyte are certainly looking forward to his return home with many taking to social media cheering on the local lad, some even contemplating a homecoming parade for our Olympic champion.
WARRANDYTE’S dual Olympian snowboarder Scotty James has finally cracked a world title at the tender age of 20 after winning the World Championship Snowboard Halfpipe at the FIS Freestyle Skiing and Snowboarding championship in Austria.
“It was a pretty amazing experience to win,” Scotty told the Diary on Sunday. “It’s super, actually, obviously something I’ve wanted to do from a very young age. One of the really cool things about it is that snowboarding’s a very individual sport, so I’m obviously out there doing it for myself but when you’re out there for the world champs you’re also out there doing it for Australia as well. There really was a great camaraderie between us in the team all week and then just to win it made me feel very patriotic.”
Scotty is the second Aussie man to win the title in the half-pipe after nailing 91.50 points in his first run of the final. He says he was in tip-top shape going into the championships, despite being nervous.
“It’s a rollercoaster of emotions you go through when you’re competing at that level, so you obviously think about what they’re going to do,” Scotty says.
“But at the end of the day I just had to worry about what I was doing. I’d talked to my coach and we talked about having the same game plan that I had for qualification. I was definitely nervous, and knowing I could potentially come away with the win meant you have to sort of calm yourself down because it can have an impact on you mentally.
“So it was a case of settling down and getting the job done, and hopefully be standing on top later and it all worked out for me fortunately. It clicked.”
With his loyal best front, Ghost the Husky, Scotty caught up with the Diary on the river behind the Warrandyte Bakery on Sunday, and the born and bred Warrandytian described the moment when he knew he’d bagged the title as a “crazy experience that was exhilarating”.
“To be honest, I didn’t really know what to do with myself,” he says, laughing.
“I’ve always dreamt of doing a victory lap and it happened at world champs. I was sitting at the top and said to my brother, ‘If I win before I’m on the podium can you tell me before I go?’ So I was sitting there and trying to block out all the noise and Tim came up to me and he did this thing (signaled No.1) to me.
“And I just jumped out of my seat and gave him a hug and I said to my coach, ‘I’ve always dreamt of doing a victory lap but I never thought it would actually happen’. He said, ‘Hey, do whatever you want!’ So I just did one air on the half-pipe and jumped out onto the deck and went down and gave everyone a big high five.
“I think it’s really cool when people come out and cheer us on, so for me to give the spectators a high five was easy.”
Scotty says although he’s based in Colorado and often travelling the globe, he says Warrandyte will always be home.
“What is there not to love about Warrandyte, I’ve lived here my whole life, so 20 years now,” Scotty told the Diary.
“It’s an amazing little spot and every time I get a chance I tell people that . One thing I really love about it is that it has a very good family orientated feel about it – obviously I’ve lived here my whole life with my family – and being right here on the river it’s just an awesome spot.
“It’s so easy to wake up in the morning and whip down my street, go grab a great breakfast and enjoy the place, and I don’t plan on leaving any time soon, so you’ve got to deal with me a bit longer Warrandyte.”
Scotty is kicking back at home in Warrandyte this week before heading to Japan.
“I’ll head to Japan and get some snowboarding in, get some photos,” he says. “That really is a culture I want to check out. Then there’s the US Open coming up at the start of March. After that I’ll either come back here for F1 or stay over there and do this new event called Red Bull Double Pipe in Aspen.
“My calendar is all over the shop at the moment,” he says laughing.