Vicki Golden took gold in Saturday's Women's Moto X Racing finals at X Games 17, claiming her first X Games medal after beating out 2010 silver medalist Tarah Gieger and French rider Livia Lancelot for the top podium spot. Sara Price missed the podium in fourth place, after an early crash in the first lap.
"It feels good and I can't believe it happened," Golden said after winning. "We've been putting in a lot of hard work and it feels good for it to finally pay off."
After tag-team dominating the sport of women's motocross over the last four years, both Ashley Fiolek and Jessica Patterson missed the Women's Moto X Racing finals altogether. Fiolek, the defending X Games champ from 2009 and 2010, missed her chance at a three-peat after crashing on the triple-jump section during practice earlier in the day; she was treated for a concussion and a contusion to her right clavicle earlier in the day and was in the crowd during finals. Patterson crashed in the same section on her fifth of six laps in the second heat of the elimination round, missing the cut for finals. She landed hard on her left side with her shoulder taking most of the force, but she walked off the course under her own power. "[Jessica's] fine, a little sore maybe but her ego is probably more bruised," said Patterson's boyfriend and mechanic, Eddie Ray. "Usually that hurts worse than the pain."
That left the four-woman finals field to Golden and Price -- the top two finishers from heat one of the elimination round -- and heat two leaders Gieger and Lancelot.
The X Games 17 course, smaller than in years past now that it's inside the Staples Center, was perfectly suited to Golden's riding style and recent Arenacross racing experience: Earlier this year the 2008 AMA Women's Amateur National Champion became the first woman ever to qualify for a main event on the AMA Arenacross Lites circuit, where she has been holding her own racing against the guys, including a top-10 finish in April. Golden just missed the podium at X Games 16 in 2010, finishing in fourth place at her X Games debut. She seemed more comfortable on the X17 course than any of her competitors, throwing stylish whips over the 65-foot metal-to-dirt jump in the middle of the course and waving to the crowd on a one-handed victory whip under the checkered flags.
"I had so much fun racing Arenacross and coming back to this was like coming home," Golden said. "This reminded so much of racing Arenacross. It felt so much more comfortable."
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