Fans in Shanghai were treated to a feast of world-class action, as Aggressive Inline Vert Champion Takeshi Yasutoko and Skateboard mini-MegaRampTM winner Pierre-Luc Gagnon took home gold medals.
Skateboard Mini Mega
The final round of the Skateboard Mini Mega Final featured a who's who list of multiple X Games gold medallists such as Jake Brown from Australia, Andy Macdonald from the USA and Brazilians Sandro Dias and skateboard legend Bob Burnquist. However, it was Pierre-Luc Gagnon who stood head above shoulders and successfully defended his title by the smallest of margins, scoring 95.00 points in the very last jump of the competition to beat Burnquist's score of 94.00.
It was an afternoon of late comebacks for Gagnon, who executed a backside flip over the gap into a melon 720 in the dying seconds of the first heat to jump to the top of his group. And after a tight see-saw battle between the two decorated athletes at the end of the final round, the Canadian outdid Burnquist in the final ticks of the clock with a Big Flip Mute Grab over the gap and finishing strong with a Fakie 720, that saw the crowd erupt having seen such thrilling roller-coaster climax.
"Walking up those steps right before my last run was the most difficult thing ever," said Gagnon. "I knew the contest was on the line, and I had to try something different, something that was me. The thing is, I've been trying the whole week, and the combination of the Big Flip Mute Grab and Fakie 720 just hadn't been coming off the whole time. It was really awesome how close this contest was with the lead changing so many times, but that just makes the victory sweeter."
Said Burnquist, who struggled with an arm injury midway through the first run of the final: "That was just one of the best top level and intense mini-MegaRampTM finals I've ever been through and I'm proud that this top group of mini-mega guys came to China to put on such an awesome advertisement for action sport fans."
Aggressive Inline Vert
Takeshi Yasutoko continued his supremacy by winning this fourth Aggressive Inline Vert gold medal at the KIA X Games Asia, and the Japanese ace dedicated the victory to his country and his fans who came out in force to support him. Yasutoko wore a shirt emblazoned with the words ‘I believe Japan will rise again' and the Kobe-native gave an emotional shout-out to his beleagued countrymen, who are still recovering from the recent disaster in March.
"My friends and family are safe, but Japan is still in chaos. I want to do something for them, so I want to send this message on my T-Shirt to the world to remind them of Japan, and keep us in their hearts", he said.
He also gave his supporters a treat, unveiling his new trick - an alley-oop double-front 720 spin - that the star christened the "Seven-seven", which left the crowd in raptures. His near flawless performance left his competitors in his wake, finishing with a score of 85.00, compared to technically-adept Rich Parker from England and Japan's Yusuke Aihara who won the silver and bronze respectively with the same score of 71.00 after a tie-breaker.
The Americans swept the podium in Shanghai in the BMX Final, led by Jeremiah Smith who credited a good streak of luck after changing his bike to win the gold medal today. Smith's consistency in the highly-contested final proved to be the difference, as he beat a hard-riding Brian Kachinsky and Dakota Roche to complete an American sweep of the podium.
Smith's bar-manual double-peg no-footed-can lit up the KIC Jiangwan stadium during his final run, a remarkable achievement after the champion revealed that this was his first time competing on a KIA X Games street course..
Action sports fans can look forward to catching Monday's BMX Mini-Mega final, featuring defending champion Vince Bryon, Morgan Wade, Chad Kagy and Steve McCann. Fans can also catch top names such as Gagnon, Burnquist, Brown, Macdonald, Dias, Elliot Sloan and Adam Taylor in the Skateboard Vert and defending champion Brian Aragon in the Aggressive In-line Street. The KIA X Games Asia will be televised live from Shanghai's KIC Jiangwan Stadium on ESPN Asia and online on ESPN Player networks across Asia as well as SMG's channels Dragon TV and G Sports.