Nate Adams beat out Adam Jones and Spanish rider Dany Torres to win Moto X Freestyle gold Friday at X Games 17. Adams was the top qualifier for the four-man finals, ahead of Torres, Jones and Japanese rider Taka Higashino, then followed up with big tricks including a one-handed takeoff to nac-nac backflip, a 360 fender grab over the 75-foot gap and a massive 360 over the 90-foot gap.
Adams won the Red Bull X-Fighters series in both 2009 and 2010, and has been a fierce X Games competitor since 2001 (he previously had won 11 X Games medals and is one of the sport's most decorated riders), but this is just his second X Games gold and his first since 2004.
"That moment when they told me I didn't have to take that third run, I'd been waiting for that since 2004," Adams said. "This feeling that we have right now, you have your medal and it's done, you can't buy that feeling, it's earned and we got it."
Jones, an X Games competitor since 2004, picked up his fifth X Games medal Friday, adding silver to a collection that includes his 2007 Moto X Freestyle gold. He was the only competitor trying the "rigor mortis," his new signature trick, and landed several huge backflip double grabs, but he fell short of Adams in the final score tally: Adams 91, Jones 86, Torres 83.
This the first X Games medal in four years of competition for Torres. He's been having a big year so far, winning the Red Bull X-Fighters event on his home turf last month in Madrid and the first 2011 X-Fighters event in April in Dubai.
Higashino, a beloved member of the Metal Mulisha team, missed the podium. He also took fourth in Thursday night's Moto X Best Trick finals.
Australian rider Josh Sheehan crashed in the first run of qualifiers earlier in the day Friday, leaving the competition. Sheehan, a last-minute addition to the field after Robbie Maddison bowed out with injuries, was Thursday night's Moto X Best Trick bronze medalist, landing his first competition double backflip, and had been expected to pose a threat in finals. Although he's an X Games rookie, Sheehan has been dominating recent European events in the 2011 FIM Freestyle MX World Championship and took third at the 2011 Red Bull X-Fighters event in Spain.
Check out the full results.