After wrecking twice and still placing third in preliminaries, Rob Nolli said he felt confident he could improve upon that showing in the final of the bicycle stunt-street competition at the X Games Trials on Sunday.
His assuredness also stemmed from the fact that the top three riders _ Dave Mirra, Jay Miron and Ryan Myquist _ were injured and couldn't compete.
Mirra, who has won the event every year since it was introduced in 1996, had to bow out after injuring his knee in the stunt-vert finalSaturday. Another blow came during the final of stunt-street when Dennis McCoy, also a standout, fell hard on his right shoulder on his second run.
Nolli took advantage with two clean runs that featured plenty of flips and won the event with 92.7 points, beating Dave Osato from Vancouver.
"I didn't think about what I was going to do out there," Nolli said. "My routine was pretty much a last-minute thing."
Usually care-free, Nolli, from Orlando, said he put more pressure on himself because he was the only competitor from Florida in the final.
"I felt I had to represent my home state," he said.
SKATEBOARDING: In the days leading up to the stunt-vert competition, Bucky Lasek thought about dropping out.
He sprained his knee during a competition two months ago and reaggravated it a month ago in Louisville. The pain was so intense Lasek said he could hardly walk a few days ago and he hadn't picked up a skateboard in weeks.
But then he started practicing, entered the preliminaries and reached the final.
After that, the pain went away and his competitive mode set in.
"I just knew I had to go for it," he said.
Lasek, who won the stunt-vert final at last year's X Games by beating best friend and legendary rider Tony Hawk, started his defense of the title by winning the X Trials with 91 points to beat Colin McKay of Vancouver.
"I probably shouldn't have challenged out there," Lasek said. "I probably should have taken it easy. I wasn't too enthusiastic at first and it was hard to get my thoughts together to compete. But the crowd was going crazy for me. That got me amped."
Lasek watched as several competitors had spills. Lasek took control with a strong second run.
"I have to thank all those guys that fell," he said. "I'll probably go out and buy them a soda. For me, it was a fluke good run."
Mike Frazier and Anthony Furlong, both from Tampa, finished fifth and 10th. Jessie Fritsch took seventh and qualified for the X Games in San Francisco because the top six already had qualified.
IN-LINE SKATING: Sven Boekhorst from Den Bosch, Holland, won the men's aggressive stunt-street competition with 82.25 points, beating Matt Salerno (75.75). Franky Morales of Miami Beach took third and Justin Ayan from Tampa was eighth.
In the women's aggressive stunt-street, Fabiola de Silva, from Sao Paulo, Brazil, won with 57.25 points, 3.75 ahead of Kelly Mathews from Hoboken, N.J.
Sayaka Yabe of Saitama, Japan, last year's winner of stunt-street, took fifth.