Banjo-playing Aussie snowboarder looking to hit right note in Beijing
Banjo-playing Australian snowboarder Scotty James is ready to hit the high notes at the Beijing Olympics but he will have to be on song to beat a strong halfpipe field.
James, who won bronze at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games and gold at the X Games in Aspen last month, is one of the favourites in the high-flying, daredevil competition.
But he will have stiff competition from American legend Shaun White -- a three-time champion -- and Japanese riders Ayumu Hirano, Yuto Totsuka and Ruka Hirano.
"Claiming another X Games gold is super-exciting and definitely builds my confidence and momentum into this event," the 27-year-old James, who is at his fourth Olympics, said Saturday.
"I'll just go out and I know what it will take to stand where I want to, and we'll just let the rest happen."
James said he was "expecting something similar" to the contest in Pyeongchang four years ago, where White took gold ahead of Ayumu Hirano in second and himself in third.
The 35-year-old White had to sweat on his place at the Beijing Games after a bout of Covid, but James expects him to be a force to be reckoned with.
"Shaun is an incredible athlete -- what an amazing career," he said.
"It seems like from what I've seen this year he's really enjoying it and if this is his last Olympics, it seems like he's just going to go out and have fun."
James is looking for his first Olympic gold but he will not celebrate with his trusty banjo if he does win.
"The banjo is collecting dust in Australia right now," he said.
"Over time I've just collected more and more luggage to travel with me, so it became a little bit more challenging to travel with."