The Australian Olympic Committee has announced snowboarder Scotty James as the Opening Ceremony flag bearer at this years Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. The snowboarder will lead the 51 Australian athletes competing at the 2018 Games, ahead of two weeks of world class snow-sports.
James is an Australian halfpipe snowboarder from Melbourne, heading into his third Winter Olympics. Hard to believe at the young age of 23. His Olympic debut at Vancouver in 2010 saw James compete in both the slopestyle and halfpipe events at the age of 14, making him the youngest Australian winter Olympian in history, and youngest globally to qualify in the last 50 years. In the 4 years between Vancouver and Sochi in 2014, Scotty had a massive one foot growth spurt. For an elite athlete, navigating this change is a huge challenge. Scotty had to essentially teach himself to board again with a whole different centre of gravity. Stepping up to the challenge like the champion he is, James has dominated snowboarding in the last 12 months, adding X Games gold, World Cup and World Championships titles in 2017… leaving just Olympic Gold to go!
Red Bull team member Scotty is one of the hot favourites to take out the Gold at these Olympics based on his epic performance in the past year. His main challenge will come from Japanese rival Ayumu Hirano, who just this week pipped James by one point in the X Games. In what would have otherwise been a competition-winning ride, Scotty’s score of 98 was not enough to beat Hirano’s almost perfect 99. These two will battle it out early on in the competition schedule, hitting the halfpipe in the first week.