Event: Freestyle Skiing
Team GB debut: Sochi 2014
Favourite healthy food: Bananas
Interesting fact: James is an expert Pac-Man player and a big Star Wars fan.
Heading to Sochi 2014 as a multiple World Cup and X-Games medallist, not to mention a silver at the 2013 World Championships, James Woods was undoubtedly a medal hope for Team GB as ski slopestyle made its Olympic debut.
But a hip injury sustained in training hampered his progress and he was limited in the tricks he could perform when the competition rolled around.
Remarkably, Woods still finished fifth in Sochi and has spent the last four years – in his words – “rocking around, travelling the world and getting to do what I love”.
Woods manages to marry being one of the most laidback men you will meet, with being an elite athlete who consistently performs on the biggest stage.
“I try my best to take every day as it comes in life generally and competitions sort of fall under that category, it’s just another day that comes around,” he said.
“I ski and I compete and I do it pretty well. It’s what I love to do and the Olympics – obviously it was a great experience last time.
“Going to the Olympic Winter Games and actually representing your country is pretty major and it’s a very different thing to what I’m used to.
“My sport is very selfish and self-focused, and full of prima donnas like me running round and doing their own thing – it’s very special to be given the opportunity to represent your country.”
Woods added another World Cup victory to his skiing CV this season with a win in Cardrona, New Zealand, and showed his form in 2018 with a fourth place in the X-Games slopestyle and podium spot in the big air.
A World Championship bronze medal in 2017 is further evidence of his ability but how does the free spirit take care of his body, so that he can perform at his peak when called upon.
“It’s been a story from the beginning where all I was doing was skiing, this wasn’t a sport when I started this was an activity that I loved to do,” he added.
“And the gym and healthy eating and all this was scoffed upon, I suppose if that’s the right way of saying it, initially in this action sports, free sports world it was even sort of ‘what are you doing wearing a helmet’. Are you going crazy? Are you going to do a mad trick or something?
“You have to go out there and you have to realise why you need to go to the gym.
“Why you need to eat good and sleep good and take care of yourself, because you suddenly realise you hit a point where you get injured or something like this, and you realise that then you have to take those measures to take care of yourself.
“For me it was a hip injury and that’s when I realised the gym, making myself as strong as possible so I can counter everything that’s going on, as well as eating and sleeping, is so important.”
So while Woods may seem laid back, he still knows what he needs to stay fit and healthy.
“I just try to hit everything you need, all the healthy business that goes on,” he added. “I make smoothies quite a lot because you can just throw whatever the heck’s going on into a smoothie and it’s gone.
“Well everyday it’s got to have a banana in it, because it’s not a smoothie without a banana and I don't care what you say.
“Then some sort of frozen berries, I always put an egg in it to keep me going, too. And then lots of greens because again it’s not a smoothie if it’s not green.
“I eat ludicrous amounts of food, all the time I’m just coming in. I try and think about hitting everything from a vegan diet and then I hit all my meats, lots of fish, milk, eggs, in almost in their perfect quantity, almost as if they were a pill.
“I enjoy it but I just don't want to exceed how much I need.”
Woods begins his slopestyle campaign with qualifying on Sunday, February 18 at 01:00 UK time.