America’s Scotty Cranmer collected his third X Games gold medal after claiming top honours in the BMX Freestyle Park Final that went down at the Event Deck at L.A. Live in Los Angeles on Saturday, June 30.
His fellow country Ryan Nyquist finished just behind him in runner-up place to take home the silver medal, while Pat Casey, also from America, rounded out the podium.
A brutal crash during the qualifying rounds sidelined Daniel Dhers, who had won four of the past five gold medals in the event, from the contention for the top honours. With him out, the path was clear for other riders to have a real chance of securing the top spot on the podium.
The six finalists squared off hungrily, looking to make the strong impact of the contest to have their hands on the shiny gold medal.
Cranmer, however, managed to eventually seal the fate of the Final in his favour after scoring a 41.00 and 38.00 off his best-two runs to finish with a total score of 79.00. The 25-year-old New Jersey-based rider showed a lot of guts to go for a double tail-whip back-flip that is considered pretty dangerous on a concrete floor, though it turned out to be worth the risk in the end.
“It’s the best day of my life,” Cranmer said after the event. “I was one of these kids at one point. I started this in 2003 and here we are almost 10 years later, but I’m still not the oldest guy in the deck. It’s one of those things where I don’t feel like I’m old yet, but I feel like I’m getting there. It’s an honour to be able to compete and hang with these guys.”
After remaining out of action for most of 2011 due to a hand injury, Nyquist announced the return with a solid performance in the Final of BMX Freestyle Park. Earning a 41.00 and 36.00 off his best-two runs, the 33-year-old Californian rider finished with a combined best-run total of 77.00 to secure the silver medal.
The 18-year-old Casey had failed to make much of an impact during his rookie season of X Games, but redeemed himself effectively with a Bronze-winning performance in his sophomore year. He earned a 38.00 in two runs to finish with an overall score of 76.00.
America’s Brett Banasiewicz just missed the podium after finishing with a combined best-run score of 75.00, while Canada’s Drew Bazanson and America’s Gary Young rounded out the bottom-two positions with a total score of 70.00 and 67.00 respectively.