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Elliot Sloan wins X Games gold in skateboard big air

He edges Tom Schaar at Irwindale Speedway. Bob Burnquist's effort to sweep the event at four 2013 X Games falls short.

August 01, 2013|By Andrew Gastelum
  • Elliot Sloan soars high off the MegaRamp to take the gold medal in the Skateboard Big Air Final at Irwindale Event Center on Thursday.
Elliot Sloan soars high off the MegaRamp to take the gold medal in the Skateboard… (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles…)

Elliot Sloan moved from New York City to Vista, Calif., 7 1/2 years ago and has been chasing a dream ever since. On Thursday night at Irwindale Speedway he finally achieved it, winning his first X Games gold medal, in the skateboard big air event.

"This is probably a game changer, to have one of these under my belt," Sloan said. "I'm so relieved right now. It's the last one out here, so to end it like this on a high note, it's definitely something I've been looking forward to all year." The X Games are moving from the Los Angeles area to Austin, Texas, next year.

Sloan used a tail grab 720 (two full rotations) and a tail grab 540 to notch a total score of 90.165, edging 13-year-old Tom Schaar and denying Bob Burnquist a golden sweep of all four X Games skateboard big air events in 2013.

Earlier this year, Sloan, 25, took bronze at X Games Barcelona and silver at both Brazil and Munich, falling to Burnquist each time. Before Sloan's winning run, Burnquist fell hard off the quarterpipe, later saying he broke his nose.

"It's the same stuff I've done all year," Sloan said. "Unfortunately, Bob went down on the one run he usually makes, which is crazy. ... It's awesome, but I would have preferred to beat him at his best."

With just over nine minutes left in the competition, Sloan took the lead for good from Schaar, who built his advantage by landing a massive 900 off the quarterpipe to rousing cheers.

"It's incredible skating against all these guys I've looked up to my whole life," Schaar said. "But I'm so happy for Elliot, he's been working on it for so long. He earned it today."

Burnquist had one last shot at the gold medal as time expired, but couldn't land his first trick over the 65-foot gap to give Sloan his first gold medal in front of over 30 family members.

Former big air gold medalist Jake Brown entered as one of the favorites to win, but ended a rough year in disappointment after failing to complete a trick in the opening 20-minute heat and finishing seventh. Brown won only one bronze medal in three X Games events and missed X Games Munich because of a concussion.

But the night belonged to Sloan, who sprained his ankle early in the competition and walked with a visible limp before landing the top run of the day.

"I'm just stoked I won the last year here in L.A.," Sloan said. "All my friends and family are here so I was extra nervous. … I couldn't be happier here."

Twitter: @andrewgastelum

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