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Scotty James Wins Olympic Bronze

14 February 2018

SNOWBOARD HALFPIPE: Triple Olympian Scotty James has won Winter Olympic bronze after laying down a best score of 92.00 in the men's Snowboard Halfpipe finals at Phoenix Snow Park. 

Donning his iconic red boxing gloves, the two-time World Champion went into his final run in third place behind American rival Shaun White on 94.25 and Japan's Ayumu Hirano who held the top spot with 95.25. 

While James couldn't improve on his score, White won gold in the last run with a whopping 97.75 to claim his third Winter Olympic gold medal ahead of Hirano.

"Us three, I guess we've kind of made ourselves unique from the rest of the field but especially at an Olympics like this, on any day it can be anyone's game," Scott said.

"We came out, all three of us, [and] delivered what we wanted to do."

"It was an amazing day and I came out expecting a really good fight and that's exactly what it was. I just wanted to come out and ride really well, I only get one time every four years to do so in front of my country and that's what I did so I'm really grateful for that.

"I've had a crazy couple of seasons standing on a lot of podiums but this one is very sentimental and I get to fly the Australian flag as high as I can."

The 23-year-old was 11th to drop into the pipe in the first final run and carried his best score with him through the event, scoring 81.75 and 40.25 in his final two runs. 

"I was working on something [in my final run] but I'm a big believer in fate and it wasn't meant to be today," he said.

The reingning world champion said that he and White thanked each other at the end of the event, adding that while he had hoped for gold he was "very happy with being on the podium."

"As much as there is this big rivalry and there will continue to be, we've actually brought the best out of each other in our riding and our personalities. It's just really cool to be a part of this and it was a good fight."

The bronze medal run saw James pull off a frontside double cork 1260 into a backside 1260. He then went into a frontside 1080 and a cab 540 before finishing off with a switch backside 1260.  

"I've never had a special talent," he continued.

"I just wanted to make a change in the way that I approach my sport, my life, everything but honestly it was just the will to come out. I was sick of finishing at the back of the field, I wanted to put in the work and just make it happen and I've done that with an amazing team around me.

"Myself, my coach and my team -- we all know exactly what I've got to do to solidify my spot at the top for the next decade in snowboarding."

With the US Open in March, James added that he's looking forward to heading home to Australia.

"I miss Australia. I've been working so hard over the past two years or four years -- however long I've been snowboarding now -- and I really miss being home," he said.

"I'm going to do what I need to do here and then I'm going to go home to Australia and see everyone that's been supporting me and celebrate with those people who said that I could [do it] from the start."

Fellow Aussie Kent Callister finished with a best score of 62.00 in 10th place. 

"[My runs] didn't go the way I had planned them to but I still had fun," he said.

"It's a good contest, it was going off like a fish milkshake and I was just happy to be in it having a good time so I'm walking away happy, pleased, safe -- it's good.

"Just didn't have enough to pull it off. It happens sometimes, everyone has their days and unfortunately it wasn't mine. It's ok though, I'm looking on to the next one."

The dual Olympian made a comeback after his first throwaway run left him in 11th place on 20.00 points. 

He said that he was "super happy" with his second Olympic appearance at PyeongChang which had gone off "like a frog in a sock, two wombats in a hessian bag, it was all happening."

"There was serious tricks, serious amplitude and I was just happy to be a part of it," he said.

"I was just focusing on myself and just riding as best as I can, trying not to worry about anyone else and I'm happy with how I did.

"Maybe the next one I can keep up with these guys."

David Barden
olympics.com.au

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