Zack Warden wins first X Games gold
FOZ DO IGUAÇU, Brazil -- Last year's silver medalist Zack Warden staved off a last-run rally by defending gold medalist Steve McCann to take home his first X Games gold medal Friday night at the GoPro BMX Big Air final.
Warden's winning run included a Warden 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.
"It feels so good," Warden, 24, said after the win, saying he felt redemption after last year's Big Air comp at X Games Los Angeles, during which his strong lead was snatched away by McCann on his final run. This time, McCann failed to complete a full run, finishing in eighth.
"I really just want everyone to keep all the people who fell in their thoughts, especially K Rob," Warden added, referring to three-time Big Air gold medalist Kevin Robinson.
The 41-year-old Robinson crashed after over-rotating a no-handed 540 early in the comp. Carried off the ramp on a backboard for further medical evaluation at the hospital, Robinson was conscious and gave the crowd a thumbs up.
Chad Kagy -- who only got a handful of practice runs because of flight delays that amounted to 52 hours of travel here from his home in State College, Pa. -- finished with the silver medal, thanks to a cliffhanger backflip over the 64-foot gap followed by a tailwhip 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. It was the highest triple tailwhip ever landed in BMX history.
Another high mark was set by the contest's lone Brazilian. On his way to fifth place, 22-year-old Douglas Leite clocked the highest air in BMX Big Air competition, at 22 feet, 1 inch.