Heading into the Skateboarding Vert at X Games 16 all the pre-event hype was focused on Shaun White‘s long-awaited return to the skateboard halfpipe. The golden boy of the Vancouver games was hoping to come back and put on a show…which he did. But White was outdone by skateboarding’s most dominant vert rider today, Pierre Luc-Gagnon, aka PLG, who took home two gold medals from the Staples Center Friday night: Skateboard Vert and Best Trick.
All the while, the Canadian did all he could to emerge from White’s giant X Games shadow. There, however, he didn’t succeed.
PLG got past the amplitude of White and the consistency of Andy MacDonald with his hyper-tech assault. But even during his winning run he couldn’t escape the gravity of White, who had just stuck a heel-flip body-verial frontside 540, a move never seen before at the X Games.
As White hyped the crowd, and the ESPN cameras stayed glued to him, PLG threw down a dagger of a run: linking a 720 on one wall to a kickflip body verial 540 on the following. The key word there being linked. There were no setup airs in between, which is what White’s run was plagued with.
What made PLG’s combination of moves evenmore impressive is his foot came off his board during the 720, yet he was able to get it back in time to land the move. “That is extremely dangerous,” said halfpipe legend Tony Hawk.
The Canadian became the first person to 3-peat in the discipline in a “Power Final” that featured five previous gold medal winners in X Games Vert: PLG, Shaun White, Andy MacDonald, Bucky Lasek and Sandro Dias.
After PLG took the Skateboard Vert win, he followed by nabbing the Best Trick thanks to a nollie verial indie 540. Best Trick is the event many expected to see White bring his A-game to. Rumors about his secret training missions had many anticipating a possible Tony Hawk 900 moment. But White went mysteriously missing after his loss in the vert final. And even Hawk, who was announcing, had no explanation.
In the end it was simply PLG’s night, he weathered the Shaun White media storm and was able to bring more golden bling back to Canada…Well actually San Diego…he’s a transplant.
PLG. Photo: Jonathan Ferrey.
1. Pierre Luc-Gagnon – 93.00
2. Shaun White – 85.00
3. Andy MacDonald – 79.00
Vert Best Trick
1. Pierre Luc-Gagnon
2. Colin McKay
3. Bob Burnquist