Warden wins 1st X Games gold; Robinson injured
Defending silver medalist Zack Warden soared to his first X Games gold in Brazil on Friday, leading a U.S. sweep of the top three positions in the GoPro BMX Big Air event.
Warden withstood a last-run rally by defending gold medalist Steve McCann, as his third-run double-flip combo, good for 93.66 points, stood up.
"It feels so good," Warden said, adding that he felt redemption after relinquishing a big lead to McCann at last year's Big Air event at X Games Los Angeles.
Kevin Robinson, 41, and McCann were among several riders injured Friday night during the five-run competition.
Robinson sustained a concussion after a hard fall from over-rotating an early no-handed 540 maneuver. He was carried off the ramp on a backboard and transferred to the hospital for immediate evaluation. He was conscious and gave the crowd a thumbs up.
Neck X-rays and a head CT scan on Robinson came back negative and medical personnel later said he had been cleared by a neurologist and released from the hospital.
McCann, who came into the event as a heavy favorite, appeared to injure his wrist after crashing front heavy on a double front flip over the gap early in the competition. He returned to the top of the MegaRamp for his final run of the night and attempted a no-handed double front flip over the gap but crashed again.
He was being evaluated for injuries to his right wrist and right foot and a possible head injury.
"I really just want everyone to keep all the people who fell in their thoughts, especially K-Rob," Warden said.
Warden's winning run included an original jump over the gap dubbed the "Iron Lotus," a backflip combined with a bike flip, followed by a triple tailwhip on the MegaRamp quarterpipe.
Chad Kagy, who got only a handful of practice runs because of flight delays, finished with the silver medal, thanks to a cliffhanger backflip over the 64-foot gap followed by a tail whip flair on the quarter pipe.
Taking home his first Big Air medal, Morgan Wade won the bronze on his last of four attempts, sending a no-handed backflip over the big gap and spinning his first competitive triple whip on the quarter pipe, 20 feet above the lip.
In Moto X Best Whip, Jeremy "Twitch" Stenberg won his third straight gold after taking 36 percent of the Ford Fan Favorite vote on Twitter to edge Spain's Edgar Torrenteras.
"I love my fans and I make sure to stay up on my social media," said Stenberg, whose 82,000-plus Twitter followers likely didn't hurt his cause. "It's cool to have famous friends ... a couple of my buddies were out there dropping the big bombs."
Also on Friday, X Games rookie Bryce Hudson upset defending gold medalist Ronnie Renner, the only rider to clear 30 feet during the Moto X Step Up competition.
"I've been looking up to Renner for years and I wouldn't be where I'm at without guys, especially like him, helping me out over the last couple of years," the 22-year-old Hudson said. "I have the utmost respect for him and I'm glad that we got to battle it out straight like that."
The 35-year-old Renner was involved in a dust-up with another rider earlier in the competition.
Josh Hansen, who placed fourth, rode past Renner in the take-off area and jawed at him as the bar was raised to 28 feet. The second time Hansen passed through the take-off area, Renner jumped off his bike to chase Hansen, who eluded him. Hansen then lined up parallel to Renner outside the barrier and revved his motorcycle. After Renner cleared the height, he rode back around to the pack of riders in the staging area and intentionally steered his motorcycle into Hansen's bike. The two riders exchanged words as mechanics and handlers separated them.
"We had a chat and I just don't roll like him," Renner said of the altercation. "I have a different style, I take this real serious. It's my job, you know. So one time was enough of him joking around and I had to kinda make a statement the second time. I don't like doing that stuff on TV, but I'm not gonna have somebody heckling me or whatever you call that just because he knows I'm the guy to beat. I beat him so that's all that matters on that run. And it got out of my head quick."
Information from XGames.com contributors Keith Hamm and Colin Bane was included in this report.