Olympic snowboarder Scotty James extended his career with Shift to 19
- Australian snowboarder Scotty James won a silver medal in the halfpipe at the 2022 Beijing Olympics.
- The 27-year-old told Insider that a change in mindset at the age of 19 helped prolong his career.
- “I want to do this for as long as possible at the highest possible level,” he said. “It’s my driving factor.”
Longevity is all the rage in top-level athletics, with superstars across the sports world investing more time and money than ever to stay in the game a little longer.
For many of these legends – the Tom Bradys, Sue Birds, LeBron Jameses and other aging icons in the sport – the realization that this investment extends their competitive window came when the effects of aging had already begun to wear off. to make felt.
But for Australian snowboarding superstar Scotty James, that moment of enlightenment came when he was just 19 years old.
“I went through a phase where I really turned a page in my life and wanted to have a bit more impact on the competitive snowboarding scene,” James, 27, told Insider. “And then it obviously made me think a lot more about what I was eating and how I was recovering and how I was training and all those elements that make me perform my best, but also feel good.”
James compared his state of mind to someone who puts a lot of energy into preparations “for an upcoming wedding or a party or something they want to look good for”. Maybe they start training more or eating a little differently to achieve their goal.
For James, that goal is to compete at the highest levels of snowboarding “as long as I can, at the highest level possible”. Two Olympic medals and nearly a decade at the top of the sport later, James knows his approach is paying off.
“There are a lot of elements that I attribute to being able to stay on top for a long time,” he said. “Every day…I always ask myself the question, ‘Is this helping me achieve my vision?’ – which is to be one of the best in my chosen profession for as long as I can – and usually the answer is yes.”
“Of course I have guilty pleasures – mine is chocolate, for example,” James added. “So I have those, but otherwise I’m definitely on, and I want to do this for a long time. I love it.”
Recovery is an underrated but crucial component of any athlete’s commitment to their craft. For James, the partnership with Therabody and the daily use of the brand’s products have been instrumental in his continued success.
He’s a big fan of the RecoveryAir compression boots, which he says keep “my legs nice and fresh for the next day to make sure I can keep performing the way I want to.” And when he’s on the go — like this winter, when he was heading to the Beijing Olympics — James is all about the Theragun mini and other portable devices.
“Usually with a lot of our competitions it’s all very back-to-back, so we finish on a Saturday night, we leave on Sunday, we return to training on a Monday,” he said. “And you don’t always have time to focus on maybe something that happened in the event, whether you had a little accident or something. So having little Theraguns for working on the plane when you travel and things like that is hugely beneficial for someone like me.”
Every advantage he can get counts, no matter how small. That’s how he won a silver medal in the halfpipe at the Beijing Olympics this winter and won bronze in the same event four years earlier in Pyeongchang.
James is confident he has “a lot more snowboarding, a lot more competition to do over the next six to seven years”. But had he not made such a big commitment to his preparation at the age of 19, James might not be in the conversation for Milan-Cortina d’Ampezzo 2026 and the medals to come.
“I’m really glad I figured that out quite young,” James said. “Sometimes you get to 30 or something and it’s not too late, but you might have missed the boat in a few areas where you could have had a little more impact when you were older. young.”