Scotty James To The Games?

January 8th, 2010

 

Last night at the snowboard World Cup half pipe event in Kreischberg, Austria, 15 year old Australian, Scotty James got one step closer to his Olympic dream. With his season best finish of 23rd place now in the bag, Scotty has now accumulated 114 World Cup points, which is 14 more than the 100 point minimum required for Olympic selection. This result has elevated his World Cup standing to 44th, and has put him in a strong position to be the youngest half pipe rider ever to compete at a Winter Olympics.

With the likes of Shaun White, Danny Davis, Louie Vito and Australian Nathan Johnstone competing at the Grand Prix half pipe event in Mammoth, California this week, Scotty James had to hold his own against a relatively unknown field of riders in Kreischberg, all vying for Olympic qualification. The men’s event was won by Daisuke Murakami of Japan with Patrick Burgener of Switzerland in second and Tore-V Holvik of Norway in third. Sarka Pancochova of the Czech Republic won the women’s event with Zhifeng Sun and XU Chen of emerging powerhouse China taking second and third position on the podium.

The night time finals may not have contained the double corks of the Grand Prix event in Mammoth, however, the technical level was still very high. Men’s winner Murakami’s extra height out of the pipe helped to secure his first place, the run included the mandatory straight air, back to back 10s and finished off with a front 9. 15 year old Swiss rider and second place Patrick Burgener signalled that he will be a real force to compete against, with a run that consisted of a straight air, backside 5, back to back 10s and a frontside 9.

Scotty in training for the 2010 games last year in Colorado.

19 year old women’s winner Sarka Pancochova impressed with a faultless first run that carried her to victory; consisting of straight air, backside 5, frontside 5, straight air and a front 7 to finish off. Australian Torah Bright elected to sit out this World Cup event and focus on her training in the lead up to the games, while fellow Australian Holly Crawford has been competing in Mammoth at the Grand Prix.

This result has not guaranteed Scotty a solid spot in the Vancouver Winter Olympics because he is just out of the top 40 standings. However, come the end of January when all the nations will finally nominate their teams, Scotty will be in a strong position to qualify via count backs. Fingers crossed Scotty will be there come February 2010, which will make him the youngest ever athlete to compete in the snowboard halfpipe Winter Olympics event.

Words:: Paul Colby
Images:: Saph Farrell

 

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS
2010 World Cup
Kreischberg, Austria – Jan. 7
Men’s Half pipe

  1. MURAKAMI Daisuke JPN
  2. BURGENER Patrick SUI
  3. HOLVIK Tore-V. NOR
  4. MALIN Markus FIN
  5. SANDBECH Staale NOR
  6. KUDO Kohei JPN
  7. KORPI Janne FIN
  8. RICCIARDI Aluan FRA

Women’s Half pipe

  1. PANCOCHOVA Sarka CZE
  2. SUN Zhifeng CHN
  3. CHEN XU CHN
  4. PESKO Manuela Laura SUI
  5. WIIK Lisa NOR

    Interview with Ben Bright, Scotty James and Torah Bright’s Coach