James won gold at six out of six events throughout the 2018/19 season including wins at The Dew Tour, X Games, US Grand Prix, Laax Open and the US Burton Open, as well as a third consecutive FIS World Championship title, an unprecedented feat as the first-ever snowboarder to do so.
James is now in the same category as the likes of fellow VIS athletes; Cadel Evans, Cathy Freeman, Kim Brennan, Drew Ginn & James Tomkins as dual Award of Excellence recipients.
“Cadel Evans, Huge fan. Cathy Freeman I grew up watching her at the Olympics and it was always inspiring so to be placed up alongside those two is pretty special and I’ll pinch myself every time I look at it.” James says.
The function was held at Carousel on Albert Park Lake and was attended by over 250 athletes, staff, partners and stakeholders, and recognised and celebrated the outstanding sporting achievements of VIS athletes from a year which brought us World Champions, World Records and a whole lot of Personal Bests.
Six main awards were presented including; the Award of Excellence, the Para Award, 2XU Rising Star Award, the Sarah Tait Spirit Award, the Performance Lifestyle Award and the very special Frank Pyke Achievement Award. In addition, a Coach Award is given to one athlete in each Tier 1 sport who is most deserving within this calendar year.
Award of Excellence:
The Award of Excellence, which honours the athlete who has achieved outstanding sporting results during the year, while contributing to the promotion and development of their sport, has been previously won by notable champions such as Catherine Freeman, Lydia Lassila, Cadel Evans, Mack Horton and Dylan Alcott - it is the pinnacle of VIS Awards.
The 2019 finalists for the Award of Excellence were snowboarder Scotty James, cyclist Kelland O’Brien and rowers Lucy Stephan and Katrina Werry.
After becoming the first-ever snowboarder to finish the season undefeated, Scotty James was awarded the 2019 Award of Excellence for a second consecutive year.
James won gold at six out of six events throughout the 2018/19 season including wins at The Dew Tour, X Games, US Grand Prix, Laax Open and the US Burton Open, as well as a third consecutive FIS World Championship title.
“I’m pretty stoked I get to be hung up against the wall with some other amazing athletes and legends that I admire.” He says.
James says that whilst being able to stand on top of the podium at every event was exciting, he knows that it can be taken away from him at any point.
“It’s been challenging for me to date, to get to where I am, but I think it’s going to be even more challenging to stay here. But, I’m excited for that. As long as im aware that it can be taken away from me at any moment, if I take it for granted, then I never will.”
Scotty is an active role model and mentor within his sport as well as a great ambassador for winter sports and the sporting community. He’s played an active leadership role within the newly structured National Park & Pipe Program which targets young athletes with potential to be medal contenders at the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games.
Scotty has also recently been working closely with the OWIA and Mt Buller to secure the best possible National training facility for halfpipe here in Victoria. He has spent considerable time and effort to try to bring this to fruition and has gladly volunteered his time and effort to assist with this project.
On winning his second-consecutive Award of Excellence, James wanted to praise the Victorian Institute of Sport community.
“The VIS has been an amazing support network every time I’m home in Australia. Snowboarding is a sport that is outside the box and it can be challenging at time to get support in areas that I need. But, I know the VIS will always have my back and are very adaptive to me and what I was trying to achieve.” He says.
Unfortunately Scotty was unable to attend the event, but Dad, Phil and Sister Rebecca accepted the award on his behalf. However, in true Scotty-style, the loveable boy from Warrandyte prepared this unique acceptance message;