Lasek rolls to victory in front of hometown

The Baltimore Sun

Baltimore native Bucky Lasek delighted the hometown crowd, winning the Skateboard Vert event last night.

Lasek's second run was strong, earning him a score of 93.75. Lasek, a two-time Dew Cup winner, was largely responsible for getting the Dew Tour to come to Baltimore. In last year's Panasonic Open, he took third while skating with an injured knee.

Winning in front of his hometown fans was Lasek's dream.

"This is huge redemption," he said. "It means a lot to me to come to my hometown and to put it down the way I did and to represent Baltimore the way it deserves to be represented. I'm just proud. I'm proud of Baltimore."

Making the victory even sweeter, yesterday was declared Bucky Lasek Day by the city. Earlier in the afternoon, Lasek led 250 young skateboarders through the streets of Baltimore, from Southern High to the Inner Harbor. Yesterday was also National Go Skateboarding Day.

Pierre-Luc Gagnon took second with a score of 93.50, and Bob Burnquist, who had a minor injury in the preliminary event Thursday, finished third with an 84.75.

Skateboarder Rob Lorifice, 20, tumbled during his first run and lay motionless for several minutes. He was taken out on a stretcher but waved to the fans that he was all right. He didn't skate for the rest of the night but came back to the event to tell the fans he was fine.

Shaun White, an Olympic snowboarding gold medalist and reigning Skateboard Vert Dew Cup champion, didn't compete at this year's event but is expected to skate in the Cleveland event.

Skateboard Park final

The Skateboard Park final drew a large crowd yesterday, with fans flooding the stands to see the athletes. The skateboarders didn't disappoint, with 18-year-old MTV celebrity Ryan Sheckler once again taking first place. He's a three-time Skateboard Park Dew Cup winner and won the Panasonic Open last year.

The Skateboard Park event features a unique final run, called the jam, in which the six skaters with the most points compete together in a seven-minute run. Paul Rodriguez took second place, and 14-year-old phenom Chaz Ortiz, in his first pro event, finished third.

Sheckler might be more famous for his MTV show Life with Ryan than for his skateboarding career, but he hasn't forgotten what led to his stardom.

"This is where my life started," he said. "Every time I get on the board, it's a new day. The MTV show and everything else that follows kind of just rolls with it."

With talented teenagers Sheck- ler and Ortiz competing so well, it appears skateboarding is in good hands.

"Those guys are the new generation," said Rodriguez, 23. "They're going to bring it and take it to that next level. It's a beautiful thing, man, just seeing skateboarding is healthy and breathing. We're all doing well, so it's a good thing."

BMX Dirt final

Ryan Nyquist won the BMX Dirt competition Friday night in dramatic fashion.

James Foster had the lead on his last run with a 95.67, the top individual score in the event, when Nyquist, 29, responded with a 95.50, giving him an overall average score of 95.42. That was good enough to beat Foster by 0.33, giving Nyquist the title.

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