Taka Higashino making it look easy on his way to the first X Games gold medal of his career in Moto X Freestyle.
Japanese rider Taka Higashino came out of the gate in Moto X Freestyle at X Games 18 and threw a Rock Solid Double Grab, a trick that had never been landed in competition and which helped him earn his first-ever X Games gold medal. Levi Sherwood took silver and was the only other rider beside Higashino to score in the 90s. Javier Villegas rounded out the podium in third place.
Higashino was nearly flawless in his run of tricks, which also included a Kiss of Death Flip, no-handed Superman Air to Holy Grab and Heel-Clicker Flip. “”It’s too exciting: It’s like a dream, it’s like it’s not true,” said Higashino.”This is my dream. It’s crazy! I’ve been working hard every day for five years, thinking, ‘I wish I wish I wish’ and I’ve spent all of my life working on this X Games dream. It was all about that Rock Solid for me.”
Sherwood returned to the X Games after missing in 2011 due to injury, but came up just a few points short of the win. Sherwood stretched himself to the limit in his second run, but remained safely ahead of Villegas to take the second silver medal of his career. Villegas became the first Chilean rider to earn a medal at the games in Moto X Freestyle, throwing a Superman Indian Air backflip, Cordova Flip and an aired-out ruler among others in Run 2. Villegas was invited as an alternate in Moto X Freestyle and Speed & Style in 2011, but his performance in Los Angeles marks his official X Games debut.
“It was the best run I could put together on this amazing course: I cleared my head and it was just the ramp, the bike and me,” Villegas said. “The stadium was empty, and then I landed my last trick and the stadium was full again.”
Last year’s gold medal winner, Nate Adams, took fourth after a tie-breaker decision awarded Villegas the bronze. The decision came down after the average of all five judges’ scores was taken for each rider, rather than the average of three as is usual, with the highest and lowest scores dropped.
Australian Blake Williams took fifth-place ahead of last year’s silver medal winner Adam Jones. Rob Adel berg took seventh with last year’s bronze medalist, Dany Torres, coming in eighth.
X Games 18 Moto X Freestyle Results:
1. Taka Higashino, 93.33
2. Levi Sherwood, 91.66
3. Javier Villegas, 88.66
4. Nate Adams, 88.66
5. Blake Williams, 88.33
6. Adam Jones, 88.00
7. Rob Adelberg, 86.33
8. Dany Torres, 84.33
9. Todd Potter, 84.00
10. Andre Villa, 78.00