Published August 09, 2004
LOS ANGELES – The X Games (search) saved the biggest for last, wrapping up four days of competition with its most spectacular and dangerous high-flying events.
A half-dozen of the world's top daredevil skateboarders soared across a huge ramp in the big air finals Sunday, where two mid-air miscalculations led to massive wipeouts. Danny Way (search), the ramp's creator, landed a 360-degree spin and a so-called "Christ Air" to win gold.
Skaters rolled down a ramp from a nine-story tower to leap a 50-foot gap at speeds reaching nearly 40 mph. If they landed atop their boards, the competitors faced a 27-foot quarter pipe on which they performed another trick.
Competitors had the choice of jumping an even larger gap by starting from a higher point, but only Way tried it. Organizers said the 31-year-old set a world record for longest skateboard jump with a 79-foot leap in practice Sunday.
The big air contest was one of two new events at the 10th annual X Games. The other, also held Sunday, was the 22-lap SuperMoto (search) race that brought together motorcycle riders from various disciplines.
Ben Bostrom (search) of Las Vegas finished first among 19 dirt and street riders on the curving, one-mile dirt and concrete course in and around the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. Four riders dropped out after mid-race wrecks.
Bostrom passed Eddy Seel of Belgium on the final lap when Seel lost control of his bike.
"When I saw Eddy make the mistake I knew I had it," Bostrom said. "One small mistake and I capitalized."
SuperMoto, one of the few X Games events not decided by judges, was followed by the BMX bike stunt dirt contest. Corey Bohan of Australia beat Chris Doyle of Pittsburgh to win the gold.
Nate Adams edged Travis Pastrana in the motocross freestyle event, perhaps the most dangerous of the action sports.
Riders twist and spin their bodies and motorcycles while soaring off metal and dirt ramps. Some tricks involve letting go of the bikes while high in the air, which can lead to violent falls.
Pastrana fell twice during an elimination round Saturday. On his final leap, he under-rotated on a 360-degree spin and his body slammed into the dirt. He was helped off the course.
Pastrana had a black eye and mild concussion, but his score was good enough to qualify for the finals and he competed less than 24 hours later in the SuperMoto race.
Organizers said more than 44,000 spectators were on hand for Sunday's events.