America’s Pierre-Luc Gagnon, more commonly known as PLG, walked away with his sixth X Games gold medal after prevailing in the Skateboard Vert Final that went down at Nokia Theatre at L.A. Live on Saturday, June 30.
The rest of the podium was completed by American skaters as well, with Bucky Lasek securing the silver medal while Andy Macdonald took home the bronze.
Some of the best skaters from around the globe had converged to Los Angeles to compete for top honours at one of the biggest stage of action sports. Determined to entertain the crowd with their performances, the skaters had been saving some of their best tricks for this week.
After settling for runner-up place behind America’s Shaun White at last year’s X Games, PLG found himself pitted against a handful of intimidating competitors on Saturday. The battle was victory was expected to go down to the wire, as none of the skaters were expected to go down easily.
The 32-year-old PLG put on a superb performance during the 20-minute final, earning a 91.00 off his best run. Lasek, however, responded to his rival’s score with an equally impressive run and managed to collect a 91.00 for his efforts as well, thus getting tied with PLG.
The winner was eventually determined through a tiebreaker decision. PLG’s second-best score of 88.00 against Lasek’s 87.66 served to earn him the top spot on the podium, forcing the latter to settle for a silver medal.
“It was nerve-racking,” said PLG of the intense final. “It’s a lot of skating and I’ve been dealing with a couple of injuries lately. But I was feeling good and I’m so happy right now.”
The 38-year-old Macdonald secured the last remaining spot on the podium after earning an 85.66 off his best run, which featured a new kick-flip 540.
“It’s finals, it’s the X Games, this is the best of the best,” said MacDonald. “If you’re going to get on the podium, you’ve got to bring everything you’ve got.”
Brazil’s Sandro Dias barely missed out on the podium after finishing with a best-run score of 85.33, a performance that was nothing short of impressive, but failed to challenge the runs of the three veterans that eventually took the podium.