- Micah Abrams, Writer, Action Sports
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After nearly four full days of watching past X Games champions repeat, three-peat, and even four-peat, a new hero for a new generation finally emerged in the Street Park Final Sunday night at L.A. Live. Fifteen-year-old Brazilian Pedro Barros, who was first introduced to the viewing public at Thursday night's Big Air Final (in which he was the youngest competitor by five years), has taken down X Games veteran stalwart Andy MacDonald in a concrete duel.
Barros was the number one qualifier to the Final out of Friday's Elimination round, on the strength of runs that combined the sort vert skills that have marked past Park events and the sort of fast, flowing lines that this year's smaller, more open course demanded. He brought similar flair on Sunday, throwing several 540s (and nearly making three in one run at one point), combined with huge transfers across nearly every gap on offer -- including a huge ollie tail grab over the big rail and a low-to-high frontside smith grind on the biggest wall in the course.
Barros spent much of the jam session tied with MacDonald at 81, but the 36 year old failed to really alter his runs at all, even after Barros leapt into the lead on the final run of the session. MacDonald's run -- as has normally been the case over the course of his 14-year X Games career -- was technically difficult and not a whole lot different than years past. He threw rodeo flips, kickflip indies over some of the bigger gaps and found a few transfers that his competitors didn't. When he crashed on his fifth and final (and exactly the same) run, Barros threw his fists into the air in celebration.
""We're young, so we have more energy and get more hyped up," Barros said afterward, referring to the youth explosion that marked the final results. Eighteen-year-old Kevin Kowalski won a tiebreaker with 14-year-old Curren Caples to take the bronze, relegating 37-year-old Bucky Lasek to fifth. Two-time and defending champion Rune Glifberg and perennial fourth-place finisher Omar Hassan failed to advance to the final session.
When asked if he ever considered walking away from X Games with a gold medal, Barros said no way. "I was just thinking about walking away happy and that's what I walked away with."