James picks up our first half­pipe medal

The Gold Coast Bulletin - - SPORT - GLENN CULLEN

SCOTTY James yes­ter­day won bronze for Aus­tralia in the half­pipe to be­come the coun­try’s first men’s Win­ter Olympic snow­board medal­list.

James got his medal with his first run of 92 points but ul­ti­mately couldn’t match the silky skills of Amer­i­can Shaun White, who snatched gold with his last run of 97.75.

Ja­pan’s Ayumu Hi­rano was se­cond with 95.25 points.

The billing of the best three men’s half­pipe rid­ers on the planet cer­tainly lived up to the hype and the gold medal was very much on the line go­ing into the fi­nal run.

It was the ju­bi­lant White who came up with the goods though, cap­tur­ing his third Games half­pipe gold on the last run of com­pe­ti­tion as he over­took young gun Hi­rano.

Se­cond last down the ‘pipe, James had his chance to move fur­ther up the podium but dragged his arm in his se­cond run and fell on his fi­nal ef­fort.

“I came out and did it the Aus­tralian way and gave it a real hard crack, I was ex­pect­ing a re­ally good bat­tle and a bat­tle it was,” he said.

“I wish I kinda landed my se­cond run but it is what it is.

“I’m just grate­ful to be stand­ing up on the podium.”

An emo­tional James said it had been a “tough jour­ney” to get to the Olympics, but the ex­pe­ri­ence had been an “in­cred­i­ble ride”.

“It’s my goal to come out here and ride as best as I can and fly my Aus­tralian flag in the sport that is not nec­es­sar­ily done by many Aus­tralians,” he said.

“I’m 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.”

On a day when many rid­ers strug­gled with the tim­ing of their tricks, James was adamant that his switch back­side 1260 – ar­guably the most tech­ni­cal trick and one only he throws down – was be­ing un­der­scored.

But the judges were on the money as White ce­mented his sta­tus as the world’s great­est snow­boarder.

James be­comes the se­cond Aus­tralian medal­list of the PyeongChang Win­ter Olympics af­ter Matt Gra­ham won sil­ver in the moguls.

It is Aus­tralia’s 14th Win­ter Olympics medal; an­other podium fin­ish in South Korea en­sur­ing the team will at least match the per­for­mance of Sochi four years ago.

Fel­low Aus­tralian Cal­lis­ter was 10th. Kent

Pic­ture: AAP IM­AGE

Scotty James has be­come Aus­tralia’s first Olympic medal­list in the half­pipe with his bronze in PyeongChang.

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