BBC WALES SPORT PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR 2008
Venue: The Swalec Stadium, Cardiff
Date: Sunday, 7 December Transmission: 2100 GMT
Coverage: BBC Two Wales and Radio Wales
In a thrilling final, James and his fellow crew members came from three-quarters of a length down
Tom James put an injury-hit year behind him to surge to rowing glory at the Beijing Olympics, winning a gold medal with the coxless four.
At the start of the season the 24-year-old was chosen for Great Britain's flagship crew - with the target a third successive Olympic gold in the category to continue the legacy of the likes of Sir Steve Redgrave and Sir Matthew Pinsent.
But a back injury forced James out of two World Cup regattas and he had to watch from the sidelines as Welsh compatriot Tom Lucy replaced him in the four.
However, James returned to the bow seat in time for the last World Cup event of the season in Poznan, Poland - Lucy returning to the eight - and then on to Beijing.
In a thrilling final, James and fellow crew members Andy Hodge, Peter Reed and Steve Williams came from three-quarters of a length down to beat Australia and claim gold.
Although he was born in Cardiff, James regards his home as the village of Coedpoeth, near Wrexham, but rows for Molesey Boat Club in Surrey.
He first started rowing while a pupil at King's School in Chester, after a knee injury meant he had to give up running.
James first represented Great Britain in 2001 as a junior, winning a bronze medal in the eight World Junior Championships in Duisburg.
A switch to the four, hinting at what would follow in the seniors, resulted in a World silver the following year, before James made the step up to the senior squad in 2003 as a 19-year-old.
The highlight of James' career before gold in Beijing was a bronze in the eight at the 2007 World Championships.
A Cambridge Blue, the engineering graduate has raced four times in the University Boat Race - in 2003, 2005, 2006 and 2007 - at last beating Oxford in the final year when he was president of the university rowing club.