MUNICH -- With a raucous crowd cheering on the hillside next to Munich's Olympic Lake, Bucky Lasek won his third consecutive Skateboard Vert gold medal to wrap up the first day of competition at X Games Munich. The X Games veteran did it with flair and suspense, waiting until the final run of the evening to move from dead last into first.
After failing to complete a full run on his first three of four attempts, the 40-year-old Baltimore native finally landed the run he came to Germany to do. The highlights included a frontside Cab heelflip and a nollie-flip Madonna to snatch the victory from Pierre-Luc Gagnon.
"I could have easily [played it safe and] done a run I've done before," the two-time defending gold medalist said right after the win, commenting on the pressure of being the last skater to drop in. "But I wanted to switch it up and do some new tricks that I hadn't done at other X Games and I finally made it on my last run."
Gagnon, 33, has won this event six times and is the only other Skateboard Vert three-peat winner in X Games history. He has returned to competitive form in Munich, claiming his first medal of the 2013 season with the help of a kickflip body-varial 540. It was the Canadian regular-footer's best result of the season after finishing an uncharacteristic seventh at X Games Foz and fifth at X Games Barcelona. The bronze medal went to 16-year-old Mitchie Brusco, adding to his first Skateboard Vert medal, also bronze, which he won last month at X Games Barcelona.
After winning, Lasek talked about competing against young guns like Brusco and Tom Schaar, saying he puts the pressure on himself to continue to win.
"Everyone says, 'He's 40 years old and beating 13-year-olds,'" said Lasek, laughing. "I'm three times Tom Schaar's age. I have daughters older than him."
Wet weather also factored into the athlete's competitive strategies as off-and-on rain showers forced finalists to attempt their best runs from the outset in anticipation that the event would get cut short and be ranked by early scores.
"The rain affected me a little bit," said Lasek. "I was feeling strong and confident and then the rain came and I had a lot of time to think and overthink things and I lost my rhythm."
Lasek is expected to shoot for the discipline's first-ever four-peat at X Games Los Angeles in August. He'll also be doubling down over the weekend with a pair of RallyCross races on Saturday and Sunday, which has made for some sleepless nights thus far in Munich.
"I tossed and turned all night last night thinking about RallyCross," said Lasek. "I don't get to drive as much as I like to and I just can't wait to get in the car and drive."