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James’ golden start to the World Cup season

10 December 2018

WINTER SPORTS: PyeongChang 2018 bronze medallist Scotty James has started the new Snowboard World Cup season off with a bang, winning gold at the opening Halfpipe World Cup in Copper Mountain on the weekend.

After heading into the final ranked third, James put down a blistering score of 96.75 in his third and final run of the day to secure the victory ahead of America’s Toby Miller (94.00) and Chase Josey (90.25) in second and third.

The Copper Mountain World Cup was the first event for the 24-year-old since he won Olympic bronze in February. James said he feels like there is less pressure on him this season, and he's feeling really positive.

“It was an amazing feeling today, there are so many good riders, everyone really showed up and I really had to come out swinging on the last run,” he said.

“Last year I came into this event and qualified first so there was a lot of pressure, but I feel really good this year.

“I don’t really mind where I qualify at all, on the day I just want to show up. I’m feeling better than ever, so it’s a really nice place to kick off the season.”

While the World Cup points are important, James’ big goal for this season is a third World title at the 2019 World Championships in Park City, Utah in early February.

“I’m looking forward to the World Champs. It is my title to hold onto and it would be number three for me, so that would be really exciting, I just hope I can get it done.”

James’ Aussie teammate and dual Winter Olympian Kent Callister also qualified for the final, placing 9th. PyeongChang Olympian Emily Arthur finished 13th in the women’s event, that was unsurprisingly won by PyeongChang gold medallist and three-time Copper Mountain World Cup victor, 18-year-old Chloe Kim.

The weekend also marked the start of the Moguls World Cup season in Ruka, Finland. All Aussie women qualified for the finals with Jakara Anthony continuing her strong Olympic form with a fourth-place finish. Triple Olympian Britt Cox finished 10th and Taylah O'Neill placed 16th.

In the men’s competition, PyeongChang silver medallist Matt Graham was the top placed Aussie in 8th place and said that result was a decent start to the season, given the challenging circumstances.

“I thought today was a reasonable start to the season for me,” he said. “Last year didn't go well for me here so I wanted to get a good result to kick the season off on a positive note.

“We had quite a terrible preparation for this event with a lack of snow in Finland so it made it difficult to be at the level I needed to be at to compete against the best guys.

“With the lack of snow and training due to a sore shin, I am happy to come away with the result I got. I changed up my jump package adding a cork 720 grab on the top jump for the first time which was a nice change and I think will help me throughout the season with the added degree of difficulty.”

Sochi 2014 Olympian Brodie Summers, who was forced to withdraw from competition at PyeongChang at the eleventh hour after he re-injured his knee, made his successful return to competition, qualifying for the finals and placing 14th overall.

PyeongChang Olympians Rohan Chapman-Davies placed 27th and James Matheson finished 33rd.

The Moguls Team now head to China for the second World Cup event in Thaiwoo on December 15 and 16. James will stay in Colorado to compete in the Dew Tour in Breckenridge next weekend.

The 2018 Australian Figure Skating Championships were held in Sydney over the weekend. PyeongChang Olympians Kailani Craine (womens), Brendan Kerry (mens), and Harley Windsor and Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya (pairs) all successfully defended their national titles.

Both the Ski Cross and Snowboard Cross World Cup events were scheduled to kick off over the weekend but were cancelled due to poor weather conditions. Sami Kennedy-Sim will now have to wait until the Arosa World Cup in Switzerland on 16/17 December for her Ski Cross hit out. The Snowboard Cross team will compete just before Christmas at the Cervinia World Cup in Italy on 20-22 December.

Georgia Thompson
olympics.com.au

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