SIERRA NEVADA, SPAIN — MARCH 10: Scotty James of Australia competes during the Men's Snowboard Halfpipe Qualification on day three of the FIS Freestyle Ski and Snowboard World Championships 2017 on March 10, 2017 in Sierra Nevada, Spain. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
SIERRA NEVADA, SPAIN — MARCH 10: Scotty James of Australia competes during the Men's Snowboard Halfpipe Qualification on day three of the FIS Freestyle Ski and Snowboard World Championships 2017 on March 10, 2017 in Sierra Nevada, Spain. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

James slams half-pipe judges over ‘favouritism’

AUSTRALIAN snowboarder Scotty James has fired a broadside against judges in his sport, saying at times he feels like he gets shafted.

James, one of the favourites in the half-pipe at the Winter Olympics, admitted to having words with judges after recent competitions where he felt he was marked down incorrectly and chief rival Shaun White was overscored.

"The biggest thing that frustrated me is that I have been working my whole life and I put my life on the line every day snowboarding and I work so hard and some silly people behind the desk dictate some score which is really frustrating for me sometimes," James said.

At the US World Cup event in Colorado last month White earned a perfect 100 marker to claim the event - something only ever done once before, by the American.

Scotty James of Australia rides during a training session
Scotty James of Australia rides during a training session

James was left in second with a 96.25 - and also left scratching his head - after including a breakthrough switch backside double cork 1260, a trick that involves three and a half spins, and a blind entry and landing. As the only rider who does it, he couldn't work out why he wasn't rewarded for the technically superior trick.

"Honestly, I feel like there have been times when I feel like I have been a bit shafted," he said.

"After the Dew Tour and Snowmass (Colorado) I had some question marks and had some words for the judges.

"Not because of getting second place - I am not a sore loser - I was just curious as to the (100 score for White) and things like that. "Personally, and I have spoken to a lot of other people, other snowboarders ... I think everyone in this room would agree that it is pretty tough to get a perfect score - so I didn't agree with that at all." White for his part on Thursday admitted his best was still to come but demurred on trying to compare James's trick to his simpler 1440, claiming it was judged on the whole package rather than just one hit in the 'pipe.

Shaun White makes a practice run before men's snowboard half-pipe finals
Shaun White makes a practice run before men's snowboard half-pipe finals

"I'm just thankful I'm not a judge," said White, who spoke highly of James and his development over the past 18 months.

"It's up to the judges to break it down - what was more technical, what was a more technical combination. It's not just one trick, it is obviously the whole ride." James said he had spent 18 months learning how to ride switch backside (backwards and with a clockwise spin) before even attempting the specific trick. He beat White at the 2017 X Games and Pyeongchang test event, and was also second this year at the X Games to Japanese rider Ayumu Hirano. White is regarded by many as the best snowboarder in the history of the sport and won Olympic gold in 2006 and 2010.

The three riders are expected to be the main contenders for the men's half-pipe which starts on Tuesday.

The final is on Wednesday.


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