BARCELONA, Spain -- In a hard-fought final, competitive veteran Gary Young claimed his first X Games gold medal Saturday, fending off Ryan Nyquist and Scotty Cranmer in BMX Park at X Games Barcelona.
"I've been so close a few times," Young said right after the victory, holding his infant daughter and celebrating with his wife, Sarah. "It feels so unreal."
The contest marked Young's 13th X Games appearance. He won the bronze medal in this event in 2009 and 2010.
"Nobody deserves it more than Gary Young," Nyquist said.
By the halfway mark of the 18-minute jam session, Young had taken a considerable lead, drawing his signature stylish, fast, concrete-influenced lines across the course.
But as the contest headed into its critical final minutes, 26-year-old Cranmer -- who won this event at X Games Los Angeles in 2012 and 2009 -- shook off a slow start and moved up the leaderboard with the help of a tailwhip backflip over the course's volcano centerpiece.
Meanwhile, Nyquist, 34, added new tricks to his run -- including a 720 transfer up to the deck and a double bar spin 540 -- to put himself within striking distance of the gold.
As the clock timed out, Nyquist dropped into the last run of the contest needing to post a 39 or better (out of a possible 50) to overtake Young. But the California native came up short with a 37, leaving the gold medal with Young.
Nyquist finished with the silver. Cranmer took home the bronze. Crowd favorite Sergio Layos, who hails from Madrid, finished just off the podium in fourth.
Citing problems with his bike, defending gold medalist Kyle Baldock failed to advance to the six-man final.