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Today we’re talking about Snowboarder Scotty James Is Officially Going For the Gold
For Australian snowboarder Scotty James, who took home a silver medal in half-pipe at the 2022 Winter Games back in February, June and July should be when he’s off. But if you were to navigate over to his social media profiles, you’d see that even if there isn’t any powder on the slopes, an athlete’s job still goes on. In recent weeks, you might have seen him showing off some of the sights at the Monaco Grand Prix, looking back at some of his painfully hilarious falls, or a few adorable shots of his dog.
Merging your personal life with your career in sport is an increasingly common part of being an athlete in the public eye, which might seem strange in a sport that is all about what you can do in the half-pipe. But in an interview with Vanity Fair after his return from Beijing, James explained that snowboarding is all about personality. “I think one of the best things about snowboarding too, is that it’s what you make it,” he said. “When you do it, it’s not that have to do it this way or anything. It’s basically a way to express yourself and your creativity.”
His TikTok took off back in February, when he documented everything that went into attending the crowd-free, socially distanced games in Beijing—and his fiancée Chloe Stroll’s enthusiastic embrace when he returned from the competition. Keeping an active online presence is part of the business model, but James said that he has a lot of fun with it. His brother Sean travels with him to film and help out with content, and James says that he is happy to have someone who is good at short-form videos on board.
“We were very hesitant for a long time about doing TikTok. I think a lot of people were, just because it’s another platform to keep up with,” he added. “But after a while I actually just started to really have fun on it. It’s a really fun outlet to obviously show a bit more personality and make videos with all the trends.”
James said that he liked how being online changed what really goes into working with brands and sponsors even though it didn’t necessarily come naturally at first. “I am probably more so inclined to just be a bit more in touch with, I would say, reality, trying to keep my head up a little bit more than in my phone,” he joked. “But as time’s gone on, with more knowledge and understanding, it is such a big part of what we do as athletes.” It’s also expanded the range of opportunities beyond the more old-fashioned “print media and cereal boxes and doing a deal with someone that’s going to put you in Times Square,” he said. “It’s just not like that anymore.”
He also thinks a move to social media has helped spark the conversation around mental health, which has been a subject of conversation over the last few Olympic Games. “People obviously are more inclined to just be honest and tell the people how they feel,” he said, adding that these are the conversations that have long been happening behind the scenes. To illustrate that, he mentioned his first visit to the Olympics back in 2010. At age 15, he was one of the youngest competitors, and though he had a great time, the pressure was hard to deal with.
“I just internalized everything. I didn’t talk because I was going through puberty. It wasn’t manly of me to actually express to people how I felt. It was the same thing, just keep pushing,” he said. “And eventually I ended up cracking. I remember I went back to my family in Australia after an event went wrong in Europe and I quit for about 15, 20 minutes. And I cried about it. But then obviously I had amazing people around me which helped. And I kept pushing forward. I always make the joke, I almost retired at 15. But that was purely just because I couldn’t verbalize how I felt.”