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McGrath Wins in Step Up

August 07, 2004|Peter Yoon | Times Staff Writer

Jeremy McGrath wasted little time making an impact at the X Games.

Making his X Games debut Friday night at Staples Center, McGrath emerged victorious in the Moto X Step Up after a jump-off with 2003 champion Matt Buyten.

McGrath, considered among the best competitive motorcyclists of all time, cleared 33 feet, six inches on his third attempt at the height in the motorcycle version of the high jump.

Buyten, who twice had to pop his dislocated shoulder back in the socket during the event, missed, giving McGrath the gold in his first-ever X Games event.

"I really wanted that gold bad," McGrath said. "The atmosphere was cool, especially at the end there when we were barely making it."

McGrath, of Encinitas, and Buyten, of Nevada, were the only riders to clear 30 feet. They cleared 31 easily and needed two jumps to clear 32. After both missed twice at 33 feet, the contest went to a jump-off, meaning the first to clear when the other missed would win.

It took another five tries for each rider to clear 33 feet. They both missed twice at 33-6, but McGrath hit it on his third attempt.

Buyten has had shoulder problems since February. He said it has gone out four times since, including earlier Friday during practice. He needs surgery but has put it off so he could compete in the X Games.

Tommy Clowers, the record-holder in the event at 35 feet, won bronze with a jump of 29 feet.


Elissa Steamer landed a kick flip while jumping a flight of concrete stairs, a backside 180 over a picnic table and nose grind across a bench during her gold-medal winning performance in women's skateboard street.

Steamer, 29, of West Hollywood, finished next to last in last year's X Games. Last year's winner, Vanessa Torres of Modesto, won silver and Lauren Perkins of Huntington Beach won bronze.

"I've been thinking about this for like a week now," said Steamer, who was so nervous and drained she got sick after completing the event.

"I just wanted to skate and groove and win."

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