PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (Reuters) - Australian snowboarder Scott James believes he may have been “shafted” by recent judging and questioned whether American rival Shaun White had deserved a perfect score at a recent competition.
White’s score of 100 in the halfpipe at the Snowmass Grand Prix in mid-January ensured his qualification for the Pyeongchang Games, which open on Friday, and pushed James into second place.
“I feel like there have been times I was a bit shafted,” the 23-year-old James, who is about to appear at his third Olympics and is being discussed as potentially Australia’s flagbearer at the opening ceremony, told reporters on Thursday.
“At Snowmass I had question marks and had some words with the judges. Not because of getting second place, I am not a sore loser. I was just curious as to the 100,” the two-time world champion added.
“Personally, and I have spoken to a lot of other snowboarders, it’s pretty tough to get a perfect score. I didn’t agree with that at all.”
Despite his comments, James was quick to stress it was not White, a two-time Olympic gold medallist, he was frustrated with, but the judging in general as they began final preparations ahead of next Tuesday’s qualifying competition.
“I have got a lot of respect for the guy, he achieved a lot of amazing things in snowboarding,” James said of the 31-year-old American.
”He has been a pioneer in the sport for a long time.
“He is an amazing athlete, one of those one-percent people.”
Reporting by Jack Tarrant; Editing by Greg Stutchbury