Bucky Lasek wins again
MUNICH -- Bucky Lasek started slowly but nailed his final run to capture his third straight X Games gold medal in Skateboard Vert on Thursday.
On a day when a 17-year-old -- Curren Caples -- won Skateboard Park, Lasek, 40, showed another generation could still top the podium with a winning 90 on his final attempt, going from worst to first in the process.
"I could have easily [played it safe and] done a run I've done before," said Lasek, who hadn't completed any of his previous three runs. "But I wanted to switch it up and do some new tricks that I hadn't done at other X Games and I finally made it on my last run."
The winning run featured a frontside Cab heelflip and a nollie-flip Madonna.
Pierre-Luc Gagnon earned a silver medal with an 89.66 on his second run. Sixteen-year-old Mitchie Brusco, who was seen as a candidate to dethrone Lasek, won a bronze medal with an 87 on his second run.
After winning, Lasek talked about competing against young guns like Brusco and Tom Schaar, saying he puts the pressure on himself to continue to win.
"Everyone says, 'He's 40 years old and beating 13-year-olds,'" said Lasek, laughing. "I'm three times Tom Schaar's age. I have daughters older than him."
Lasek started with 16.33 and 15 on his first two runs, and it looked like his reign might come to an end. A 70.33 on his third run put him back in the conversation before the final run.
It won't be his only chance at gold in Munich. Lasek is also competing in RallyCar.
"I tossed and turned all night last night thinking about RallyCross," Lasek said. "I don't get to drive as much as I like to and I just can't wait to get in the car and drive."
Gagnon -- who has won this event six times and is the only other Skate Vert three-peat winner in X Games history -- returned to competitive form in Munich, claiming his first medal of the 2013 season with the help of a kickflip body-varial 540. It was the Canadian regular footer's best result of the season after finishing an uncharacteristic seventh at X Games Foz and fifth at X Games Barcelona.
Off-and-on rain showers factored into the skaters' competitive strategies, as finalists were forced to attempt their best runs from the outset in anticipation that the event would get cut short.
There was a rain delay during the first round of runs. But once the showers stopped, a crew wielding squeegees, towels, mops and leaf blowers dried the ramp and the competition continued.
"The rain affected me a little bit," Lasek said. "I was feeling strong and confident and then the rain came and I had a lot of time to think and overthink things and I lost my rhythm."
Lasek is expected to shoot for the discipline's first four-peat at X Games Los Angeles in August.
Curren Caples scored a 43 on the final run of the Skateboard Park event to steal the gold medal from Pedro Barros on Thursday.
The 17-year-old from Ventura, Calif., totaled 81 points combined for his two best runs in the finals to win his first X Games gold and the first medal of the Munich games. Barros finished with 76 for the silver medal, and Ben Hatchell scored 71 to take bronze.
"It's just a matter of psyching myself up to go out and land everything, trying to motivate myself in my own mind like: 'Don't fall, you've got this,'" said Caples, admitting that he's been his own worst enemy in previous contests that have come down to a close finish.
The last skater in the finals, Caples fell on the deck on his second-to-last run but earned another chance when the final runs started with less than a minute left. He needed 39 to win and easily bested that number.
Caples was the top qualifier from the elimination round by an astounding 16 points after posting the only scores in the 40s. Caples was flowing and flying across the course with the seemingly effortless surf style that has become his signature, making use of street-inspired features on the Bavarian-themed course for more technical tricks.
The contrast against Barros' more muscular and aggressive style couldn't have been more pronounced, but both skaters expressed admiration for each other.
"Pedro goes so fast and so high -- just really gnarly skating -- that it's hard to keep up," Caples said.
Caples led for much of the 18-minute final jam session before Barros got back in the game and edged ahead of him, but he managed to squeeze in one final run and make it count. The crowd in Munich roared for his kickflip transfer, stylish tuck-knee transfer and stretched-out frontside boneless as well as more technical moves like a frontside nosebone, backside kickflip transfer over the hip and backside noseblunt to fake.
Barros ended his three-win run but left another streak standing strong: He's never finished lower than silver in his six appearances at X Games.
"Curren approaches the course totally different than I do," Barros said. "He has a lot more street skills and uses a lot more of the features on the course than I do, and he also killed it on the big transitions with huge airs and flip tricks in the deep. I love seeing everybody's different styles, and he deserved it for sure. I'm super stoked for him on his first X Games win and for bringing X Games to a new level."
Skateboard Park won't be contested next month at X Games Los Angeles, and Barros said he doesn't mind the time off.
"The thing I'm most looking forward to right now is to go back home and chill with my friends and my family in Brazil," he said. "It's been one very crazy year."
Skateboarding Select Series
Youness Amrani opened X Games Munich on Thursday with a win at the Street League Skateboarding Select Series. The Belgian skater beat out Ryan Decenzo and Jackson Curtin to earn a wild-card slot for Friday's prelims with the Street League pros. Amrani is the first European skater to win a Select Series competition.
"I'm super psyched to even come here and skate the contest and hang with all these guys," Amrani said. "I look up to all of the Street League pros. These guys are next level. They're all like idols to me. It's beyond my dreams."
The Select Series was designed to give rising and unsung skaters a chance to break into the Street League system and to identify talented skaters around the world as part of the new Street League at X Games partnership.
Information from XGames.com's Colin Bane and David L'Heureux was used in this report.