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Brazilian Dedicates Victory to Her Dad

August 15, 2003|Peter Yoon | Times Staff Writer

The most decorated female X Games athlete skated with her usual grace in winning the Women's Aggressive In-Line Park competition Thursday outside Staples Center, but while Fabiola da Silva completed her high-air tricks with light feet, she also skated with a heavy heart.

Fabiola, 24, from Sao Paulo, Brazil, lost her father, Ernesto, in June. He died of liver cancer at age 70. After winning the event with a score of 60.50 Thursday, her eighth career X Games medal, the soft-spoken Da Silva dedicated her victory to him.

"He really motivates me," said Da Silva, who has since moved to Santa Ana so she can train in the United States. "Before he died he always encouraged me. He told me to do my best."

Ernesto da Silva unintentionally got his daughter started in the sport. When Fabiola was 12, he bought her first pair of roller skates. She switched to roller blades six years ago and had an almost immediate impact in the sport.

In her first X Games in 1996, she won gold in the Aggressive In-Line Vert. She repeated the next two years, took second in '99, then won the same event again in 2000 and '01. Through it all, Ernesto da Silva was supportive in a sport not appealing to many parents.

"He was really supportive," she said. "He was always positive."

Da Silva so dominated the Vert that the event was eliminated in 2002 and she now competes against the men in that event. She is ranked No. 15 in the world.

In the Park, the event she won Thursday, she won X Games gold in 2000 and 2001, but did not compete last year because of a torn medial collateral ligament.

Jenny Louge of England was second with 59.75 points and defending champion Martina Svobodova was third with 56.

In the men's event, Bruno Lowe of Germany, competing in the X Games for the first time, skated a near-flawless second run and scored 90.25 points. He easily defeated runner-up Stephane Alfano of France, who had 87.75 points. Sven Boekhorst of The Netherlands was third with 84.5 points. "It's weird to say that I won this," Lowe said.

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