AT JUST 15, Scotty James was a snowboarding prodigy, becoming Australia’s youngest Winter Olympian, but then something happened that threatened to derail his promising career.
Genetics stepped in shortly after his first Games in Vancouver in 2010 causing James to undergo a massive teen growth spurt.
He grew 23cm by the time the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Japan, came around.
Now standing 190cm, some commentators thought James was far too tall for half-pipe riding,
But James didn’t give up and instead set about learning to snowboard all over again in his new body.
“It was really tough especially learning how to co-ordinate my body again which was a real struggle,” he said.
“You’ve obviously got to have a lot of spatial awareness doing the tricks we do. We’re getting up to 40 feet (12m) above the ground, so the consequences are pretty scary if you get it wrong.”
“I had to adapt quickly and be patient while I refined my technique. It definitely got pretty intense.”
“I was also really conscious of not lifting heavy weights. A lot of snowboarders do, but I ended up being 6’ 3” (1.9m), which is pretty big in our sport, so having too much muscle mass would cost me in terms of agility and speed.”
And it worked.
In 2015 James won the men’s half-pipe world title in Austria and earlier this year took out bronze at the X Games.
In two years, the 23-year-old will compete in his third Winter Olympics in South Korea in 2018.