That's a Wrap: Global X Games 2013 Come to a Close in LA; Oakley Athletes Win 8 Medals

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There’s nowhere quite like Los Angeles. It doesn’t have Aspen’s trees or Brazil’s jungles or Barcelona’s architecture or Munich’s floating MegaRamp, but none of those places have a “scene” quite like LA. It’s a place where – at least for four days – the sun was always out, the stars were always in attendance, the streets were always packed, and the parties always went late. And fortunately for the X Games crowds, in the homeland of Hollywood, the drama was ever-present.

The final stop of Global X Games 2013 brought a close to an incredible year for action sports – six stops across five countries on three continents. In LA, with records and rivalries and retribution on the line, Oakley athletes were as driven as ever, accumulating eight more medals to bring the year’s X Games count up to 43.

Though she’d already won two events at X Games this year, including Gold in Skateboard Street in Brazil, Leticia Bufoni was visibly rattled during the Finals of Street in Los Angeles when she wasn’t skating in front of the cameras. Between runs she was pacing and checking and re-checking her board and trying to shake off her nerves. Though one of the most dominant female skaters in the game today, the course was one that didn’t favor her flowing, big-trick style, instead favoring a more technical skater. Nonetheless, she appeared at ease when it mattered. She nailed the highest single run in the prelims and then posted an 88 on her first run, good enough for her third Gold of 2013, and her sixth in her career. “This has been the best year of my life,” the 20-year-old Brazilian said afterward.

Bufoni’s success was just the beginning. Later in the afternoon of Day 1, at Irwindale Speedway, Big Air skateboarding went down, but not as most had expected. Riding the high of releasing his first part in almost three years, Bob Burnquist was skating strong. Burnquist, the most decorated athlete in X Games history, was sitting in third after the first session, when a mishandled landing off the 25-foot quarterpipe sent his face bouncing off the ground, breaking his nose. Despite the blood and his nose having a distinct bend and appearing shaken, Burnquist kept skating and held on to his third-place position, winning his 25th medal.

“[The fall] definitely shook me up a bit; it was hard to focus and stay in the moment after that,” Burnquist said. “I’m still really happy to win a medal and I’m stoked for Elliot [Sloan] and Tom [Schaar.].” Sloan won the Gold, while 12-year-old Schaar won Silver.

On Day 2, Blake “Bilko” Williams and Ronnie Renner stole the show in the Staples Center. Though Bilko missed out on Gold, his suggestive maneuvers in Speed & Style and all-around entertainer appeal won over the crowd. In Step Up, Ronnie Renner was as dominant as ever. He didn’t come close to his year-old record of 47 feet, but on that night, he didn’t need to. He was clearing every level with plenty of room to spare, while his competitors struggled to keep pace. He won his third Step Up Gold of 2013.

In Moto X racing, there were vastly contrasting finishes in the men’s and women’s races. Feeling she had Gold clinched, on the final jump on the final lap of a race she’d dominated, Meghan Rutledge took her right hand off the throttle and fist-pumped mid-air. The momentary celebration caused her to over-rotate coming into the landing, and she crashed, enabling the racer behind her to pass and take away the Gold. Rutledge was left with Silver. In the men’s race, during the 20th and final lap of a race he’d been trailing all along, Justin Brayton finally found the angle he needed, bumping his way into the lead and stealing the Gold out from under Josh Hill. The win, after two previous Silvers, was the fulfillment “of a childhood dream,” Brayton said.

On the final day of action, the Oakley ladies of Enduro X were again in dominant form. Laia Sanz and Maria Forsberg had accounted for all three of the X Games Gold Medals in the event in 2013. Sanz burst onto the scene in Brazil, winning there and in Barcelona, while Forsberg came up just short. In Munich, Forsberg claimed the top spot while Sanz settled for second. In Los Angeles, it was a familiar story. The pair were again among the contenders for the podium. Sanz held the lead most of the way, while Forsberg flip-flopped with another racer for second. Sanz and Forsberg finished 1-2, with Sanz claiming her “was a perfect season,” based on her results.

It all felt like a fitting goodbye to Los Angeles. The city and the fans gave it all of its energy, while the athletes brought the excitement that the farewell tour deserved. Eleven faithful years as host to the X Games, and now, no more. The event moves on to Austin, Texas. Quite the shadow to crawl out from behind.