Bucky Lasek wins Skateboard Vert gold
FOZ DO IGUAÇU, Brazil -- It was turn-back-the-clock day in Skateboard Vert as Bucky Lasek, the oldest man in the field at age 40, beat 38-year-old Sandro Dias to win his first Vert gold medal in a decade.
Lasek overcame the sweltering, sticky conditions next to Iguaçu Falls and dominated the full-run heat after a lackluster start in the lip trick session, then cemented his title in the best trick heat with a nollie flip stalefish 360. His victory was the first time in seven years that neither Pierre-Luc Gagnon nor Shaun White captured gold in this event. White skipped X Games Foz and Gagnon, who won four of the last five X Games Vert titles, struggled all day to land his tricks, finishing seventh in the eight-man field.
Marcelo Bastos joined the silver medalist Dias on the podium with bronze, giving Brazil two of the top three spots.
Lasek, who has five Vert gold medals and 16 X Games medals overall, joked that his clinching full run was "a 2010 patent." It featured a handful of tricks no one else does on the vert ramp, including a Cab heel 3 and the switch 3 that he rolls into. "They're my go-to bangers," he said. "If you have a good thing going, why change it? When people start copying tricks, that's when I'll change it."
After a stop-and-start lip trick session that had competitors complaining about the lack of flow and limited runs, event organizers removed the timed element from the next two heats. Thursday night's Skateboard Big Air gold medalist Bob Burnquist pulled out after that session, saying he'd had enough. "Knee bothering me a bit, wasn't quite ready for the vert," Burnquist posted afterward on Twitter. "Then the format was confusing and slow. Decided to stay out of it."
Lasek entered the second, full-run session in fourth place but shot into the lead on his first of five runs.
"I was a little bummed, a little down after the first heat," Lasek said. "But it made me care less and I was like, boom, here you go, take this. And all of a sudden I was in a better mood. I don't want to say you got to give up, but when you overstress so much, you just have to find a happy place. And my happy place was on top of that roll-in looking at that waterfall."
Gagnon found no such place, failing to land any of his five runs in the middle heat, which counts for 50 percent of the score. The 10-time Vert medalist fell on a variety of maneuvers, including setup tricks that he usually lands with ease. He even tried switching shirts halfway through, to no avail. "I fell on a bunch of dumb stuff," he said. "It wasn't my day."
Dias, the 2006 Vert gold medalist, sealed silver with a 900 in the best trick session moments after 13-year-old Tom Schaar -- 25 years his junior -- landed the same trick.
"After I saw Tom land his 900, I was like, I got to land one right now because this kid just landed one," Dias said. "I did, and now I'm happy. The old guys got first and second and then the kids came after us."
As impressive as it was to see a combined age of 78 between the top two finishers, had Andy Macdonald not missed out on bronze by a half-point, the podium would have totaled 117 years old.