Scotty James and Laura Peel win joint Athlete of the Year

Australia's darlings of snowboarding and aerial skiing took out the coveted Athete of the Year award in a highly competitive line up this year. 

Crystal Globe winners, snowboarder Scotty James and aerial skier Laura Peel, were today named the joint winners of the Olympic Athlete of the Year title for the 2020 Snow Australia Awards.

After an outstanding Northern winter that saw them both finish the season ranked number one in the world, the pair have once again been named joint winners of the award, previously sharing the title in 2015.

It was an extraordinary season for both athletes, with dual Olympian Peel claiming her career first Crystal Globe, and James becoming the overall season champion for the third time.

Triple Olympian James now becomes the first person in history of the Snow Australia Awards to win the Athlete of the Year Award four times.

Peel finished the season with two gold, one silver and one bronze medal, in her first year jumping triple back somersaults.

The 30-year-old Canberra local said that this season far exceeded the expectations she had set for herself before it commenced.

“It was a great season – was pretty magic for me,” said Peel. “I went in doing triples and completing triples for the first time – so the goal wasn’t to win the Crystal Globe, it was to gain some experience doing triples. 

But that (winning Crystal Globe) has been a dream of mine pretty much since I started the sport so this was a really amazing season.”

James successfully defended his X-Games titles and won the Dew Tour event in Copper Mountain. He qualified first in every World Cup event, before going on to finish the season with three golds and one silver World Cup medals.

James echoed Peel’s sentiments, adding that he feels extremely honoured to be named Athlete of the Year amongst some great talent in his fellow finalists.

“It’s getting harder every year to win this award, so each year brings a different excitement,” James said.

“I’m very happy to be the winner of this award, alongside Laura again. She’s been amazing and I’ve been watching from afar. As winter athletes we don’t get to be together that often so it’s been good to watch and support each other from afar.”

Snow Australia Chief Executive Officer Michael Kennedy said he couldn’t think of two more deserving winners for the title of Athlete of the Year (Olympic Disciplines) than Scotty and Laura.

“Scotty and Laura had fantastic seasons. They are both pushing themselves and their sport to the next level,” said Kennedy.

“Scotty’s consistent results made him unstoppable this season and it’s great to see him once again be crowned our Athlete of the Year.

As for Laura, she now joins Aerials royalty in becoming World Cup Champion joining the greats of our sport in Kirstie Marshall, Jacqui Cooper, Alisa Camplin and Lydia Lassila in that honour.”

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Rachael Oakes-Ash is the name behind @misssnowitall and the founder of SnowsBest.com. A long time travel and lifestyle journalist and ski writer, she's been published in ESPN, TIME, Wallpaper*, Action Asia, Inside Sport, Australian Financial Review, Emirates Open Skies, Conde Nast Traveler and more. She was the Fairfax snow blogger from 2007 to 2017 and the Southern Hemisphere editor for OnTheSnow. Rachael is also a documentary producer, author, radio announcer and humorist.