White wins skateboard vert; Lasek takes 4th on bad knee

The Baltimore Sun

Here was Bucky Lasek, the hometown draw and Baltimore's biggest action sports star, trying to decide which bum knee was more deserving of the blame: the left knee, the one suffering from cartilage issues that will cause him to have surgery tomorrow, or the right knee, which had to compensate its counterpart.

"I paid the price today. It was bruised; it was tight. I had no power," said Lasek, 34, about the knee that bothered him in the skateboard vert finals of the Panasonic Open yesterday. "But I had the will. I wanted to do the best that I could do. I did pretty well, but not as good as I'd like to."

On this afternoon, pretty good equaled fourth place for Lasek, a few notches behind a youngster 14 years his junior.

Shaun White, 20, who once posed on the cover of Rolling Stone bare-chested, showing his freckled face and long red hair that now flows just past the top of his spine, won the skateboard vert finals, taking home $15,000 while dazzling and earning the respect of the Baltimore crowd, which had been behind Lasek from the start.

White was the top qualifier coming into the finals and had the luxury of knowing he had already won the event going into his third run when second-best qualifier Buster Halterman scored a disappointing 52.75 in his final run - his second-worst score of the day.

White, already a star in his own right, has earned gold medals in snowboarding in the Olympics and X Games, but he said those credentials didn't matter when it came to competing outdoors against veterans such as Lasek and Brazil's Bob Burnquist, 30, who finished second yesterday.

"It just means a lot to me," said White, whose first-run score of 94.25 was the highest of the day. "I come out here and I'm not really used to winning skate contests - this is probably my third win ever. It just feels so good."

White has won three of six tour events he has entered the past three years. He was asked if he could see himself at 34, still competing at a high level as Lasek has done.

"As long as it's fun, I'm going to keep going," White said as he signed skateboards for fans shortly after hoisting his trophy. "It's one of those things where I don't really think I want to do something else."

Murray update

BMX Dirt competitor Stephen Murray is in critical but stable condition after undergoing surgery yesterday.

Murray, 27, of England, was injured Friday as he attempted a double backflip in his second run of the dirt finals. He was attended to by tour medical staff and was taken by ambulance to an area hospital.


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