Los Angeles, CA – June 30, 2012 – Staples Center: Mike Mason gets the checkered flag against Nate Adams competing in Moto X Speed & Style final during X Games Los Angeles 2012. (Photo by Eric Lars Bakke ESPN Images)
In 2011, both Mike Mason and Pierre-Luc Gagnon lost their head to head battles in their respective sports leaving them with a silver medal to show for it. Now in 2012 its gold for both.
Mason showed from the first heat as the gate dropped that no other rider on two wheels was going to take what he wanted. Mason used big technical tricks and won the race portion easily each heat.
“I am so pumped to get a gold”, Mason said. “I had to go through Ronnie (Faisst) and Nate (Adams) to do it. To go through the best riders in this competition makes this gold even more special to me.”
After losing the epic head to head battle with Shaun White last year, PLG was expected to return to gold with White not competing in Skateboard Vert this year.
“I felt like there was more pressure on me to win this year”, Gagnon said. “More pressure than I have felt in awhile. There are a lot of other great riders so it was never a sure thing but most expected that it was.”
PLG had a fight on his hands this year with Bucky Lasek both finishing in a tie for first. The win went to PLG due to a higher score average from the panel of judges.
Using his full bag of tricks, Gagnon needed a body varial 540 into a body varial 5, a 720, fakie switch heel 360 and some technical grinds to pull off the win.
“This was my first main event of the year”, Gagnon said. “I haven’t been riding to my standards and to break the ice at the X Games was good for me. It was a great battle. I can always find room for improvement.”
While the final was littered with younger up and coming riders, it was the veterans to took home all three medals as Andy MacDonald rounded out the podium in third.