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