Tom Schaar, 14, sets Big Air youth record
AUSTIN, Texas -- Day 2 at X Games Austin featured the crowning of a 14-year-old Big Air phenom and the return of a BMX king. A rookie claimed gold in Moto X Best Whip and a new champion stepped up to the plate in Women's Enduro X, all on the first day of competition at Austin's Circuit of the Americas.
Tom Schaar, 14, won the America's Navy Skateboard Big Air final on Friday, becoming the youngest athlete to win Big Air gold at X Games.
Schaar landed a 720 over the gap and a 900 on the quarterpipe in his third of five runs, enough to leave seven-time Big Air gold medalist Bob Burnquist in silver medal position and Brazilian skater Edgard Pereira with the bronze.
"I'm just happy that everything worked out," said Schaar, who previously got Big Air silver at X Games Los Angeles 2013 and bronze at X Games Munich 2013. "Everyone else was killing it. That was a good contest."
Schaar's medal was placed around his neck by Cameron Copeland, a teenage recipient of the Make-a-Wish Foundation, whose wish was to accompany Schaar during his X Games appearance.
Schaar made his X Games debut in 2012 when he was just 12, and he's been hailed as the future of Big Air and Vert skateboarding.
"Tom Schaar rules!" Burnquist shouted during Schaar's podium interview, giving props to the younger skater he has mentored on the MegaRamp. Burnquist's best run featured a switch frontside lien 540 over the gap to indy 360 on the quarterpipe.
Pereira brought a never-been-done heelflip indy 540, enough to land on the podium.
"First try? I am very, very happy. This trick is super hard," he said.
Skateboard Big Air - Men Final
Garrett Reynolds reclaimed his reign as king of BMX Street in Friday's first event.
"Garrett's one of my favorite riders," said Dakota Roche, accepting defeat even before the scores from Reynolds' third and final run were announced. Roche ended with the silver medal, his best X Games finish after winning bronze in 2012 and '11. Dennis Enarson won bronze, his sixth X Games medal.
Reynolds had previously won every BMX Street event at X Games from its introduction in 2008, until Chad Kerley unseated him at X Games Los Angeles in 2013. He was back in top form in Austin, where he advanced to the finals as the top qualifier and seemed at home on a course that was bigger and less linear than last year's setup in L.A.
Kerley, meanwhile, failed to advance to the finals, leaving Reynolds as the odds-on favorite.
"I was really surprised [Kerley] didn't make it," Reynolds said, after the rematch with Kerley was cut short. "He's probably one of the most consistent riders and he's one of my favorite guys to ride with."
Roche gave Reynolds a run for it with a first-run score of 89.33 that held up until the final seconds of the competition and one of the biggest lines of the day with a 180 drop to flat to perfect rollback.
Reynolds overcame difficulties in his first two runs with a nearly flawless final run featuring trick combos like a rail ride to opposite tailwhip out, and 180 barspin to crooked grind to 180 out and a big 360 to fakie at the buzzer.
"It's so hot, and street riding is so much about using your muscles to pull and pop tricks," Reynolds said, explaining that the biggest challenge of the day was staying cool and hydrated. "By the time you do like five tricks in this heat your muscles start to lose it."
BMX Street Final
Skateboard Street Eliminations
Three-time gold medalist Ryan Sheckler topped Friday's elimination round in Monster Energy Skateboard Street, winning Heat 1 with a score of 90.33 that kept him ahead of Heat 2 winner Nyjah Huston, a five-time gold medalist and a perennial favorite.
Some new faces will be in the mix for the 12-man Skateboard Street finals, which will conclude X Games Austin on Sunday. That includes X Games rookie Trevor Colden and Curren Caples, who is making his Skateboard Street debut after winning Skateboard Park gold at X Games Munich 2013.
They'll be joining three-time medalist Luan Oliveira, Thrasher Magazine's 2013 Skater of the Year Ishod Wair, Australian skater Shane O'neill, X Games Foz do Iguaçu bronze medalist Torey Pudwill, four-time gold medalist Paul Rodriguez, as well as Grant Taylor, Chaz Ortiz and Ryan Decenzo.
X Games rookie Riley Hawk -- son
Enduro X favorite and defending champion Taddy Blazusiak collected his fourth X Games gold medal on Friday after a hard-won battle to keep the lead. Mike Brown held the inside line out of the first turn, but Blazusiak overtook him before the end of the first of 10 laps.
After Brown bounced out of the race, Colten Haaker chased Blazusiak's rear wheel for the second half of the race, until running into a tangle in the rock pile and ending up in fourth. Cody Webb took silver, followed by Alfredo Gomez in bronze.
"I had to give it everything I had," Blazusiak said. "It was such a close race and a gold medal again. That's the fourth one I'm going to hang on the wall, so what can I say ... I'm super happy."
Blazusiak won his sport's X Games debut in 2011 and has since won five medals in seven X Games appearances.
In Women's Enduro X, Kacy Martinez won her first X Games gold, finishing nearly 10 seconds ahead of silver medalist Sandra Gómez Cantero. Rachel Gutish -- who said she skipped her high school graduation and her chance to break her high school's pole-vaulting record at the Indiana State Track & Field Championships to be at X Games -- won bronze.
"I got a good start, got out in front and just led it from there and tried to stay smooth," Martinez said. "I'm just so pumped right now. I worked so hard for this."
Martinez, 23, is just the third woman to top the podium since her sport's debut at X Games Los Angeles 2011, where she won bronze. Maria Forsberg and Laia Sanz have previously dominated the women's field. Forsberg announced her retirement from competition last October and is expecting her first child this fall; Sanz opted to compete in the Enduro World Championships in Finland this week.
X Games rookie Tom Parsons won the fan-voted Moto X Best Whip contest on Friday with 33 percent of the vote, ahead of Jeremy Stenberg and Josh Hansen.
"Four days ago I wasn't even in this event because I broke my leg: I'm riding with a rod and a cast on right now," Parsons said after the contest. "They cleared me to ride an hour ago and now here I am."
Parsons, better known as a Supercross racer, said he'd been trying to get into the X Games for several years. Winning the Biggest Whip event at the 2013 Monster Cup didn't hurt.
"I'm pretty sure that got me the invite," he said.
Stenberg, who has previously won Moto X Best Whip four times, got silver with 23 percent of the vote. Hansen won bronze with 18 percent of the vote, ahead of Lance Coury, Vicki Golden and Beau Bamburg.
Moto X Best Whip Final
Moto X Step Up
Defending gold medalist Ronnie Renner leapt to his sixth Moto X Step Up win on Friday in his 20th X Games appearance, clearing the 34-foot mark with ease. His closest competitor, silver medalist Bryce Hudson, failed in each of his two attempts at 34 feet, leaving his mark at 33 feet, 5 inches. Bronze medalist Libor Podmol, the Czech rider who won Step Up gold at X Games Munich 2013, cleared the bar at 33 feet before being eliminated at 33 feet, 6 inches.
Renner, 36, has a unique style of carving across the takeoff ramp to maximize power before whipping his bike over the high-jump bar. He holds the Step Up record at 47 feet, set at X Games Los Angeles 2012. He went 38 feet, 6 inches for the gold in Los Angeles in 2013 but didn't have opportunity to match either mark in Austin.
Every rider cleared at the opening height of 24 feet and again as the bar was raised to the 26, 28 and 30-foot marks. Matt Buyten was eliminated at 32 feet, and Josh Hansen went out at 33 feet.