Almost like it was written into a script, Shaun White overcame his rival Pierre-Luc Gagnon and returned to the top of the X Games Skateboard Vert podium Saturday night, eclipsing the three-time defending champ on his final run of the night.
White landed an incredible string of tricks to finish his run and was rewarded with 93 points by the judges, just enough to beat Gagnon's 91.66. An elated White seemingly hugged half the massive crowd at L.A. Live when Gagnon fell on his ultimate attempt, sealing White's first Vert gold since 2007 and just his second Summer X Games gold medal in eight appearances.
"I'd be lying to say I wasn't standing up there at the very top like, 'You could blow it right now or you could just win it,'" White said. "I went with win it. You really want to know what goes on up there? Everything crosses our minds. I'm glad I shook it out of there and started landing, trick after trick. I was gaining confidence and came through, man."
His final three tricks in the winning run, which he'd spent weeks perfecting on Tony Hawk's private ramp, went like this: 720, body varial frontside 540, heelflip body varial frontside 540 (with a fully extended grab behind his back).
"I was trying a different run and I thought it was better but it wasn't," said White, who scored an 89.33 on a flawless first run in the finals. "I made the good call of switching it out and doing that last one."
Last year, White finished second to Gagnon, a five-time Vert gold medalist. White's gold was his 21st career X Games medal (summer and winter combined) and 13th gold.
Bucky Lasek, a four-time gold medalist in Vert, took bronze.
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