Day three of X-Games 15 was a hectic one. Over six hours of coverage took place and I tried to keep with both ESPN and ABC while having one heck of a busy day myself.
BMX and Skateboard superparks went down, as well as Moto X freestyle and the highly anticipated skateboard and BMX vert finals.
So many memories resurfaced from my head yesterday. Those vert finals gave produced some of the greatest match ups in Matt Hoffman and Dave Mirra, Bucky Lasek vs. Tony Hawk, Bob Burnquist vs. Tony Hawk, and so on.
So many epic moves were achieved in this competition. The moments were all bittersweet as last year's Moto X freestyle gold medalist Jeremy Lust passed away following a fatal fall during a competition.
There was a short dedication video to the late Moto X star and the entire competition was dedicated to him. His wife and father were in attendance to honor their son and husband and lend support to the exciting and sometimes fatal Moto X freestyle.
It was four men, three runs, best two runs are counted, and only one gold medalist.
Chris Adams vs Blake "My 360 Indian air didn't win gold" Williams was the match up that caught my eye. I knew one of these two men were going to win and I was correct. It went down to the wire on the final runs.
Adams had a bad run he hoped to replace, but only received a 36 when he needed above a 40 for the gold.
Blake Williams got his redemption last night. He was robbed of the gold medal in Moto X's best trick as the judges gave the honor to Kyle Loza and his electric doom...again.
Blake was clearly determined and would not be denied as he once again pulled off his Indian air without the no hand landing. He followed up with another great run, which was enough for a comeback and steal the gold.
I caught glimpses of the superparks and the BMX one was great. There were double tailwhips, front flips, and even 720s.
The show stealer came around at the BMX vert final, the same event where Dave Mirra won gold after sustaining a concussion in BMX superpark.
Jamie Bestwick was the man to beat last night and he came to town without holding anything back. Every competitor gets three runs with a possible max score of 50 in each run, Bestwick tallied up two scores of 49.
Chad Kagy was on his tail trying to catch him and seemed to have caught his break when Bestwick went down during his final run. His bike was clipped on the top of the ramp and he fell down into the halfpipe with his shoulder taking the massive impact.
After a couple of minutes he was helped to the back and was done for the afternoon. Kagy approached his last run needing practically a perfect run to defeat Bestwick for the gold and failed.
It was similar to Mirra's miracle win, but Bestwick not returning was a difference. Just when you thought the competition couldn't get anymore fierce it did. Pierre Luc Gagnon, Buckey Lasek, and Andy Macdonald all threw down in a memorable skate vert final.
Ten years ago, Tony Hawk pulled off the first 900 ever and won the gold in his event, it's a feat that will probably never be forgotten. The only thing that was missing from the final was Bob Burnquist, who was eliminated in the qualifying rounds.
Macdonald clearly wasn't the favorite as everyone including Tony Hawk believed that the vert gold would go to Bucky Lasek or PLG. For a moment, it appeared as if everyone was going to eat their own words after Macdonald put down multiple solid runs, one with a 540 and he sat in the lead.
PLG's frustration had finally reached its climax after bailing on two runs. He turned it up and so did Lasek, Andy Macdonald was suddenly fighting for a bronze medal.
After some great melons, 540s, handplants, and varial leins, both Lasek and Gagnon were tied at 91 a piece going into their final runs.
Macdonald dished out on last great run that had many wondering if he was going to sneak his way back into gold medal contention. Unfortunately, he he finished with an 88 overall and the bronze medal.
PLG's last run pushed his overall score up by two to final score of 93 and all eyes were on Lasek, it was all or nothing. He ripped the halfpipe, but sealed his fate after attempting what looked like some sort of 540 varial lein and fell to the defending champion PLG.
Gagnon celebrated another well-deserved gold medal.
I gave major props to Andy Macdonald, the guy is a warrior. Out of everyone at X-Games 15 he probably had the most hectic schedule. He took part in Big air skateboard, Big air rail jam, skateboard vert, and skateboard superpark while celebrating his 36th birthday.
He was able to bring him silver and bronze medals though he was very close to tasting gold a couple of times. He took home the silver in skateboard superpark today, only being outshined by defending champion Rune Glifberg.
This year's X-Games was an interesting one indeed as almost every single defending champion successfully defended their gold with two 3-peats (Moto X best trick- Klye Loza, BMX vert- Jamie Bestwick).
Even in the midst of highway robbery, redemption was manifested through stunning victories and suprising victories. Nyjah Houston, the 14-year-old skateboard street pro, took his first medal in skateboard street, winning a silver medal.
Paul Rodriguez vs. Ryan Sheckler was looking to be epic until Sheckler injured himself and lost his gold to P-Rod. Rally racing closed the four day event from the Home Depot center.
Rally favorite Dave Mirra was eliminated in the qualifying rounds in an upset against the rookie Brian Deegan, who made it all the way to the final and faced off against Travis Pastrana.
Pastrana appeared to have Deegan beat until he hit two walls followed by car problems resulting in another upset. The rookie was stoked as he captured gold in his first X-Games and defeated two action sports legends to do so.
The sun is once again setting in California over the Staples and Home Depot centers where the last four days were taken to the extreme and we'll have new memories to converse about until X-Games, summer's biggest fiesta rolls around again next year.
Al's X-Games 15 Most Notable Achievements/Moments
- Jake Brown nearly lands 900 and finally defeats Bob Burnquist after losing to him the previous two years to earn first X-Games gold medal (Big air skateboard)
- Anthony Napolitan pulls off the first BMX double front flip across 70-foot gap (Big air BMX)
- Kevin Robinson makes epic comeback run to win gold medal with a bacl flip and huge 20-foot no handed flair (Big air BMX)
- Danny Way wins gold medal despite sprained ankle, torn ligaments and possible torn ACL with a switch 50-50 grind (Big air rail jam)
- Travis Pastrana attempts 720 corkscrew (Moto X best trick)
- Kyle Loza defends gold and pulls of a 3-peat (Moto X best trick)
- Blake Williams successfully executes a 360 Indian air with no hand landing (Moto X best trick)
- Jamie Bestwick nearly earns two perfect scores with a pair of 49 points (50 is perfect) and successfully defends gold and achieves a 3-peat (BMX vert)
- Rune Glifberg successfully defends gold (Skateboard superpark)
- Blake Williams wins gold medal after a huge 360 Indian air and comeback run (Moto X Freestyle)
- Paul Rodriquez lands hardflip down flight of stairs, fights off Nyjah Huston, and dethrones Ryan Sheckler to win gold medal (Skate street)
- 14 year old Nyjah Huston wins first X-Games medal (silver) (Skate street)
- PLG survives and successfully defends gold medal after defeating Andy McDonald, Bob Burnquist, and Bucky Lasek by two points. (Skateboard vert)
- Rookie Brian Deggan defeats Moto X legend Travis Pastrana and BMX legend Dave Mirra in two huge upsets to win gold medal (Rally racing)
- After 15 years and many jaw dropping moments, my all time X-Games moment is still Tony Hawk's 900 in 1999.