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Nyquist's Trick Treats the Fans

August 17, 2003|Peter Yoon | Times Staff Writer

It was only a glory run, but Ryan Nyquist wanted to finish it off right.

Twice at the end of his final run during the X Games Bike Stunt Park competition Saturday at Staples Center, Nyquist crashed.

But it didn't matter. Nyquist, the final competitor of the competition, earned 95 points for a phenomenal first run, and since nobody had scored higher, he had the gold medal secured.

All that was left was a chance to pull off a difficult trick, so that's exactly what Nyquist tried. On the third attempt, he started on the far side of the course, jumped the box in the middle, went up the quarter pipe and did a 540-degree spin while releasing his hands from the bar.

A 540-suicide.

"I took a couple of hard slams," Nyquist said. "It was tough because I knew I had the medal in the bag and I couldn't stop smiling. It was hard to focus, but I landed it. If I needed that run for the gold, I wouldn't have tried it."

It was the second gold medal of the games for Nyquist, who won the Bike Stunt Dirt Thursday. It also was a very different situation. On Thursday, Nyquist started his final run in eighth place and vaulted to gold with a spectacular run.

Saturday, he let loose early. He began his run with a series of big tricks and did not let up. He strung together a 540-to-720 combination. Later he landed a back flip while spinning the handle bars.

"I wanted to get it done on the first run," Nyquist said. "If you don't, you have little leeway for mistakes in the second run. That's a pressure cooker situation and I was in it on Thursday."

Nyquist has four X Games medals, but this is the first time he has won two in the same games. Gary Young took second after a 92.4-point performance and the bronze went to Dave Mirra, who had 89.4 points.

Fourth-place finisher Chad Kagy had the most spectacular crash. Attempting a double tail whip in his second run, his back tire caught the top of the ramp and sent Kagy head first to the bottom of the quarter pipe.

He was knocked unconscious for about 40 seconds, and had a huge welt beneath his right eye, but walked off unassisted.

"I don't like sleeping in the middle of my runs," Kagy said.

Kagy said he regained his wits in time to watch Nyquist on his first run. It would have taken something special to beat Nyquist, Kagy said.

"He is by far the most dialed athlete in our sport right now," Kagy said.

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