- Micah Abrams, Writer, Action Sports
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Ryan Sheckler has won his third X Games gold, edging Nyjah Huston by less than one point as the clock ticked down on Saturday's Super Final. Sheckler took the lead in his first of five runs, in what was essentially a warmup -- albeit a warmup that included a kickflip backside boardslide on the rail, backside kickflip down the gap, a huge switch kickflip that he barely landed and a backside tailslide down the ledge that earned him a 90.33.
With skaters given 45 seconds or two crashes per run, Sheckler appeared to have a solid hold on things until the third run, when Huston popped off a run that included a 360 flip up the gap, a switch heel to manual down the ledge, and a backside 270 boardslide. The run earned him a 91.33.
While both Chaz Ortiz and Ryan Decenzo threw a variety of bangers in their runs, both were plagued by untimely crashes that kept them from fully challenging Sheckler or Huston.
At his next opportunity, Sheckler seized the moment, stringing together a kickflip to boardslide, a big frontside air in the tea cup, a backside flip up the gap, a cab 360 lipslide down the rail into a frontside blunt in the little tea cup transition. The run garnered a 92.00 -- cementing the podium despite Huston and Ortiz each having one last shot at Sheckler's lead.
Sheckler acknowledged that he wanted redemption after last year's X Games, when he sustained an ankle injury that derailed most of the last year. "I chose X Games because I got hurt here last year and wanted to prove to myself I could come back and get a gold," he said, taking time to also acknowledge the rabid fan base that was evident in the crowd.
"They're yelling the whole time," he continued. "You don't want to let them down, so you skate your heart out and do the best you can do."
19hMarc Stein and Ramona Shelburne