EVEN before collecting an historic bronze medal at the Winter Olympics, Scotty James was winning at life.
While not exactly a household name in Australia, the likeable Victorian had already established himself as one of the biggest names — and earners — in snowboarding.
With a glamorous partner by his side, living a dream lifestyle and travelling the world doing what he loves, things seemingly couldn’t get much better for James.
We look at how things are only likely to get bigger and better for James after a becoming Australia’s first male snowboard medallist on Wednesday and why the humble sporting star is well equipped to handle it.
$10 MILLION DOLLAR MAN?
James has a long way to go to match the earnings of three-time Olympic champion Shaun White, has an estimated net worth of almost $US50 million.
But he’s quickly rising the ranks of Australian sport’s top earners and mainstream success means his marketing appeal will only skyrocket.
James already has the likes of Red Bull, Oakley on Volcom on board as major sponsors and his impressive Olympic campaign (in which he carried the flag for Australia), looks and personality ensure there’ll be wide range of new brands queuing up for his services.
Australia’s last snowboard gold medallist Torah Bright has an estimated net worth of $6 million and it’s reasonable to think James could easily trump that — given his age and growing star power in the lucrative US market.
“Absolutely, there’s a chance to make good money,” James told the Daily Telegraph last year of his earnings potential.
“Make wise decisions and live off that the rest of your life. It’s what I want to do.
“But in saying that, money isn’t my driving factor. I just want to win. And if I win, everything else happens off that.”
James may well be on the way to following a similar career path to Aussie motocross star Chad Reed, whose net worth has been estimated to be as high as $60 million despite having a low profile in his home country for much of his career.
LISTEN: Scotty’s final analysed, White gold, Olympics wrap – The Splash podcast
Even if he’d missed a medal, James surely would’ve felt lucky to be going home to his glamorous long-term partner, Ivy Miller.
James and Miller — described as “part model, part snowboarder, part surfer” are believed to have been dating since at least mid-2016 and the pair frequently shares happy couple pics on social media.
Miller is a regular supporter at James’ events and was there to celebrate with him in South Korea on Wednesday.
‘A GREAT YOUNG MAN’
Despite achieving fame and success at such a young age — he first competed on the international circuit as a 14-year-old — James has managed to remain humble and grounded.
His down-to-earn nature, attributed largely to his supportive family, is sure to hold him in good stead whatever comes his way.
Thredbo-based snowboard coach Peter Baff took James on one of his first ever overseas training camps, to Mammoth Mountain, California, when the athlete was 11.
“He was awesome,” Baff told foxsports.com.au. “He was determined, hungry and passionate about snowboarding and of course talented as well.
“He definitely had a really good stance, and very natural snowboard skills.
“I looked at Scotty and after a while you think yes he’s a natural there’s a good chance he’ll do thing.
“He’s progressed as expected as an athlete but exceeded my expectations as a human.
“His personality exceeds anything you ever expect. He’s a really nice humble kid. A great young man.
“His mum [Celia] is very similar, very humble, very supportive but never pushy at all.”
While White confirmed himself as a bonafide legend of men’s snowboarding with his third Olympic gold, missing out on the top prize is only likely to only spur James on further.
Eight years the American megastar’s junior, James has plenty of time to carve out his own legacy in the sport — and not planning on going anywhere.
“My goal is to come out here and ride as best I can and fly my Australian flag in the sport that is not necessarily done by many Australians,” James said after Wednesday’s final.
“I am very proud of my country and where I come from but I can assure you I am just getting started.
“You can expect to see a lot more of me in the future. Me and my team, we are excited to keep going.”
Here’s just a glimpse of what James has achieved already in his young career.
2018: Winter Olympics – bronze
2017: X Games, Aspen – gold
2016: World Cup, Laax Switzerland – silver
2016: X Games, Aspen – bronze
2015: World Championship, Kreischberg Austria – gold
2014: Dew Tour, Breckenridge Colorado – bronze
2013: World Cup, Stoneham Canada – bronze