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Sunday, August 2, 2009
X Games 15 Skate Blog: Sunday

By Josh Brooks
ESPN Action Sports

5:50 p.m. PT:

I'm hella tired, which is the sign of a good contest I guess. I feel like I had some really good runs out there. This was my first Gold and I'm really proud. It was hard - you know? - to beat Lance Mountain and Chris Mill-...wait...aggghhh...Where am I? Who are you? What? You found me here, in the viewing area of the Skateboard Park passed out? What's this purple stuff on my face? I was in a puddle of melted Sambazon? Talking as if I were Christian Hosoi? Last thing I remember is Holmes taking first in Park Legends. Did that actually happen? It did? So, I'm not entirely lost, I guess. Did it just end? It ended four hours ago? Oh my god. How did I get here?

I remember getting here on Monday and posting everything going on throughout the week, using the e-mail through my phone. I remember the first two people to show up to practice, P-Rod and Terry Kennedy; Malto pulling out of street to skate in his hometown of Kansas City, with the Chocolate dudes. I remember doing a P-Rod interview and Lyn-Z Adams Hawkins trying the Big Air ramp--the first day had enough going on.

The rest of the week was packed with so much more, though. Alex Perelson talked about the benefits and the curses of the 900. The Big Air guys jumped the chasm. A bunch of aspiring heavyweight boxers showed up to cheer on Bucky Lasek in practice. Koston showed up and everyone proclaimed their love for the Park section. Marisa Dal Santo and the Mar fan club came out and she clenched the X Games 15 Women's Street win. Then, the Big Air ended oddly, with Jake Brown clinched first after tying with Bob Burnquist, who took second. Lorifice got third, his first medal at the X Games.

What else happened? I'm almost caught up. Danny Way came back from a knee injury, skating switch to win the first Big Air Rail Jam with a switch 50-50. I had to interview him in a wounded state and seriously feared for my life. Yesterday, Keegan Sauder showed up with dirty facial hair. P-Rod won the Gold in street with flawless runs. That's when I started to lose it. I drank at least 20 energy drinks Saturday. Then what? Oh yeah, vert. PLG won vert. Things were getting blurry.

Today the Park and Park Legends events went down but it was too much for me. It was too awesome. I just remember Rune winning and the awesomeness of seeing Hosoi get his Legends win. Then there was a blur of Sambazon and Gatorade, Monster, Rockstar and Red Bull energy drinks. I knew my heart was racing. I couldn't feel my fingers. Then I woke up to you hovering over me. Oh my god. At least I figured out why. Dude, X Games is non-stop. My God...do you know why that Rally car's in the Park section? It was me? A what? I had an action overdose?

4:46 p.m. PT: Chris Nieratko's been fun to have around all week. Here he gives you his parting shot of the contest as a whole and the park contest in particular. He's also got some suggestions for new rules for next year.


3:45 p.m. PT: Hosoi won. He earned it with solid runs and his smooth style. Miller moved into second with boosted airs and a near bluntslide over the cradle. Lance made third, turning it up in the finals compared to his qualifying runs. A seriously good showing from the legends of skateboarding.


3:40 p.m. PT: Hosoi put awesome runs together, but Miller just tied it up. Hosoi's not going out without an amazing run first. And Mountain just had one of his better runs.


3:30 p.m. PT: Hosoi is killing it. He has such great style, and he just pulled the air over the capsule gap that he's been trying in practice all week.


3:28 p.m. PT: Chris Miller, Hosoi, Cab, Mountain and Tony Magnusson (from first to fifth) are finalists in the Park Legends finals. Pat Ngoho was upset after initially being placed in the first heat, only to be moved by the contest organizers into the second super-stacked heat. He was supposed to be in Heat 1 with Mountain, Peters and others. The runs he did, if he would have been in Heat 1, would have placed him in the finals. Bummer … wanted to see him skate more.


3:08 p.m. PT: It's amazing that nearly two decades since the '80s ended, some of these guys are still so competitive with each other. (Tony Magnusson, I'm looking in your direction.)


3:05 p.m. PT: Chris Miller is out there right now looking as smooth and consistent as he did more than 15 years ago.


3 p.m. PT: For a video recap of Skate Park finals, click here.


Chris Miller smiles as Pat Ngoho pads up for Legends.
2:50 p.m. PT: Intros for the legends: Lance Mountain is one of the most creative original members of the Bones Brigade. Tony Magnusson is from Sweden, came over to the U.S., and started H-Street and later Osiris. Steve Alva is the original backyard pool shredder. Duane Peters is the original punk rock skater. Christian Hosoi is an '80s icon and inventor of the Christ and Rocket airs. Chris Miller is a master of the original Del Mar pools as well as the current Vans park replica. Lester Kasai is the inventor of numerous skate tricks. Pat Ngoho is a SoCal legend and Santa Monica Airlines skateboards rider.


2:15 p.m. PT: As the legends of skate get warmed up, they're taking the time to celebrate legendary surfer Kelly Slater with a Laureus award for the second time in his life.


2:10 p.m. PT: Park Legends is under way. There are legends for what they were and there are legends for what they still are. All these guys rip, but falling into the latter category are Chris Miller, Steve Caballero and Hosoi. These guys are still progressing.


Rune takes his second Park Gold in a row.
2 p.m. PT: Those finals were amazing. People were putting it down in every line. Omar Hassan deserves a medal of courage for even competing in the final after the slam he took. Seriously gnarly. Andy Mac was a crowd-pleaser, pulling wired lines with rodeo flips over the hips, kickflip indys on the big wall and gap out to stalls on the park's retaining rail. Still, his lines were nearly identical in every run, and it was nice to see the spontaneity of others rewarded by the judges.

Rune was the obvious winner, and he earned Gold for the second year in a row with gnarly lines that changed and got more intense with every go. my personal favorite was his frontside tailslide to fakie over the capsule only a few minutes after the same gap almost took Omar out of the finals.

And my personal favorite to watch all weekend, Chad Bartie, and I'm happy to see him make the podium with a bronze metal. Chad's nollie heels over the pyramid gap in the park's flow section was a refreshing street influence to see in an event that feeds more off the tranny and ramp side of skating.

The podium looks like this:

Gold: Rune Glifberg
Silver: Andy MacDonald
Bronze: Chad Bartie


1:37 p.m. PT: To finals:

1. Chad Bartie

2. Andy Macdonald

3. Rune Glifberg

4. Omar Hassan

5. Tony Trujillo


1:28 p.m. PT: Bob Burnquist and Eric Koston are answering your questions right now, live, sitting next to me.


1:18 p.m. PT: This may seem like awkward name-dropping, but it's still a trip to see Omar ripping. He definitely wouldn't remember it, but 10 years ago, just out of high school, I went to Europe with my brother Than and our friend Mike Burnett, and I remember eating dinner with Omar. Ten years later, and I'm still starstruck. While I was typing this, he also tried to grind over the capsule, lost his footing and fell straight to his side on the corner of the hip below. But, he's still skating. It's insane.


1:12 p.m. PT: Trujillo's family came out in support of their Antihero -- his wife Trixie, his baby son Wayland, one of the DLX honchos Mic-E Reyes and his daughter. All in the family.


12:58 p.m. PT: Even if he doesn't win the contest, Trujillo wins for being spontaneous. Just like last year, it's infectious. He starts and all the others suddenly throw things in their overly practiced runs. Much, much better.


12:51 p.m. PT: It's hard not to associate ESPN with traditional sports, but who's the winner in something like skateboarding? Everybody? Nobody? Nieratko asked me, "Are we winning?" I said, "Yeah, sure." Why not?


12:46 p.m. PT: Deluxe always does things its own way, and cheering on its boy, Tony Trujillo, is no different. They brought their tent city umbrella to the contest and Trujillo is backing the Giants with a no-hitter tribute shirt to the Giants. He's just messing around the course, without practicing a set run.


12:38 p.m. PT: Tony Trujillo is out on the course rocking an S.F. Giants jersey and boot black under his eyes like he's playing pro baseball. —AS


12:12 p.m. PT: I know it's outlandish to think that there is one beetle in half a square mile of land, but there has been a metallic green beetle with tints of red and yellow hovering around the street course, vert ramp and park course all week long. It has landed in people's hair, hovered around the athletes' viewing area and hummed over each course, and I'm convinced that it's the same one. It just wants to be around all this skateboarding.


11:55 a.m. PT: Chad Bartie is a handsome man (not speaking for myself, but a lady in the audience told me he was handsome) and he's skating like a champ, too: sick flip tricks, unique lines  as I said yesterday, this dude's entirely too underrated. Aaron "Jaws" Homoki is out there, too, just getting into it.


11:47 a.m. PT: Park practice is under way, and dudes are shredding. Kevin Kowalski, the Pollack's pride, just gapped out of the capsule transition to the vert wall. I haven't seen anyone do that, maybe because Polish people just think differently than the rest of us. (Insert your own joke here, if that's what you feel like doing.) Rune is making mincemeat out of the park he helped create. It's a good thing, too, because he wants to move in this direction more (read: skateless vert contests and more bowls). Omar Hassan is still following his lines consistently. And, even Tony Hawk's out there practicing for legends. (I think.) Both park and park legends will be great contests.


11:23 a.m. PT: I'm watching the high schoolers for a bit this morning. It's all the skaters who were part of their high school skate team. They compete throughout the year, and the winners make it to this contest at the X Games. It's called the Future Am Series, and as always, kids at this level just go for it.


10 a.m. PT: It's a sad fact, but we all win when everyone else loses. We look at it as these top three dudes in the winner's circle, but really, everyone below the top guy lost to someone else this week. Losers! They remind me of myself.

But today will be awesome, even though there are so many losers who will come out of the events. There will be a bunch of losers in Park comp, one winner. Rune, Omar or even "Jaws" from Moonraker (just kidding … Aaron "Jaws" Homoki from the Birdhouse) could be the one nonloser. But everyone else is gonna be such a loser. Same with Legends. Those old guys are gonna be losers, too, except for one of them. He won't be a loser, unless he's a winner in the contest, but a loser in life. But, none of those legends is a loser. Life's confusing, huh?

What I'm trying to say is the real winners are not us, if you really think about it. That's the nature of someone winning. Then again, we win watching other people lose. Yin, yang. Smile, though. Tune in for more today, because it's gonna get all yingy and yangy on this blog.