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Higashino golden in Moto X freestyle

August 02, 2013|Stephen Bailey
  • Leticia Bufoni of Sao Paulo, Brazil competes in the Women's Skateboard Street Final for the X Games at L.A. Live on Thursday. Bufoni won 1st place in the competition.
Leticia Bufoni of Sao Paulo, Brazil competes in the Women's Skateboard… (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles…)

Taka Higashino defended his title again at the X Games.

After Adam Jones scored a 90.00 on his second run, matching Higashino's first-run mark, Higashino churned out another 90.00 to win his third straight gold in the Moto X freestyle event Thursday at Staples Center.

Higashino and Travis Pastrana are the only two to three-peat in the event.

"I didn't think about Jones, focused on myself and fixed the little mistakes," Higashino said of his second run.

With the second 90.00, Higashino's second-best score beat Jones' first-round mark of 82.66. Nate Adams scored an 88 on his final run to knock Rob Adelberg off the podium.

Jones said his second run was 99% perfect. "Trick wise, it was everything I wanted to do," he said. The remaining percentile? The quality of the ramp.

Jones said the dirt was a bit loose and the track was so tight that the riders had to ask for run times to be cut down before the event.

But you'd never know when watching Higashino. He fluently transitioned from trick to trick while many other riders needed to slow down considerably after each landing. With smooth combinations of flips, bars and grabs, a strong enough second run never really seemed in question.

Hansen takes whip

Murrieta native Josh Hansen rotated fully upside to claim the Moto X best whip contest at Staples Center.

"This is my hometown, L.A.," Hansen said, "so to be able to do this in the last X Games here, that's what's up."

He beat out five other riders in the six-minute "jam-session" event in which fans determined the winner via Twitter vote. Hansen earned 42% of the vote to take gold, while Jeremy Stenberg, 24%, and Vicki Golden, 21%, claimed second and third, respectively.

Golden is also the first woman to compete in the event.

Bufoni wins event

Leticia Bufoni won the women's skateboard street event at L.A. Live, earning her third career gold medal and sixth total.

"I'm stoked," Bufoni said, smiling while being hurried away from the venue. "I'm happy."

That joy started after silver medalist Lacey Baker came up just short of Bufoni's 88.00 in her final run. Bufoni waltzed through a no-pressure victory run, black bandanna and matching sunglasses sitting above a smile, and then back onto the podium. She won gold in the same event in Foz do Iguacu, Brazil, and in the Real Women video contest in Barcelona earlier this year.

Bufoni scored her highest mark in the finals on her second run, using the whole course to display an array of flips, grinds and manuals.

Baker finished with an 86.00, while bronze medalist Marisa Dal Santo took her seventh career medal at 81.00.

Rookie Samarria Brevard was fourth, 12-year-old Alana Smith fifth and Rachel Reinhard sixth in a tough competition between all six riders who qualified for the finals.

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stephen.bailey@latimes.com

Twitter: @stephen_bailey1

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