Just before Scotty James made it clear how much he was irked by recent scores handed out in the halfpipe, the man central to the issue made it clear just how much time he had for the Australian.
Shaun White was almost gushing in his praise for James , admiring the 23-year-old for his muscular technique in the ‘pipe and breakthrough 2017 season where he won the X Games and PyeongChang test event.
While respectful of White, James said he was disappointed with a number of the scores he had been given this season and remained surprised that the two-time Olympic gold medallist was able to score a perfect 100 in the Snowmass World Cup event last month.
White shrugged off any suggestion of scoring problems and laid on the charm instead.
James is 10cm taller than White’s 175cm and has to make up for a less dynamic looking frame with powerful moves and amplitude (air).
“Scotty’s great,” White told AAP.
“I’m always really impressed by the really tall guys riding the halfpipe because they go really big but they always have these challenges of getting compact in the flips and spins but I think he manages that really well.
“He uses his strength and his height as an advantage for him.
“It’s just impressive.”
With James having contested the past two Games, White has known of the Victorian for quite some time but says it was like a switch went on in recent years.
Video from Dan Himbrechts and Glenn Cullen AAP
“I remember him being around but he wasn’t as passionate, as driven as he is today,” White said.
“Scotty has definitely hit a nice peak last season by winning a bunch of big events and now he’s making his way and we’ll see what happens at the Olympics.”
But there was a little sage advice from a man that has been in the public spotlight since he was earmarked as a champion skater and snowboarder aged seven almost 25 years ago.
“It’s hard to be ‘the guy’,” said White.
“The whole country of Australia is behind him. All these expectations, these things. I just wish him the best. As a friend and as a guy who has been through it I hope he uses this as a great benchmark in his career.”