During this time, he learned that his odds of winning were 23-1. Before being reaped in his games he worked in a hydraulic power station, where he learned to swim.
He was the winner of the 43rd Hunger Games at age 15, for being a good swimmer, having skill with the spear, and brutal manners. There was a bridge in the middle of the arena that had mutts inspired from Irish folklore. There were two giants located there, one Scottish and one Irish. The two giants later destroyed the Career pack when they accidentally stumbled upon them.
When James found out that the careers died so shortly, he became more encouraged to survive longer, knowing that the biggest threats when comes to tributes in the arena were now gone. However, he saw his tribute partner die, and got so mad that he cursed out the Capitol multiple times and he had to be censored momentarily. Because of this, the Capitol made sure he won so he could see his family die in front of him when he came back home.
Just like what the Capiol wanted, James's family was publically tortured and executed, right in front of James's eyes. He became an alcoholic to help him overcome the trauma he experienced, like Chaff, Haymitch, Megan, Justin, etc. after he won.