For some of the athletes Thursday’s biggest challenge turned out to be rain, rather than a fellow competitor. The heats for the Skateboard Verts had been moved to Wednesday and that turned out to be a great call as it was still quite wet by late afternoon.
With some time on our hands we checked out a few more training sessions and saw the final touches that had been put on the different courses.
There was a bit of a delay to the start of the vert finals as it was televised live and waiting for a baseball game to finish. It was quite the change from the previous day. Gone were the friends and trainers hanging out on top of the half pipe. There were a ton of camera crews around and of course my special friend the cam on the long boom arm that was right in front of the photo pit was back :). But I was grateful to have had a day to practice and was able to work around the long arm moving seeming randomly in front of me. But then I’m used to dodging sweaty metal music fans in a pit, that camera was no challenge 🙂
Everything was bigger in the finals, the riders seemed to get more air than the night before and there were a couple of attempted 900s. The rain earlier had left the wooden planks damp and through the competition staff was constantly working on making sure there were no puddles and no warped spots. Judging by the falls, it still seemed a challenge to the riders. Jimmy Wilkins took the gold.
I was talking to another photographer who asked me if I was going to head over to First Ave to cover Prof’s show. Being all cool, I replied, that I had photographed him a hundred times. Well, Prof must have heard that, because who pops up on a platform in front of me not 10 minutes later? You guessed it, PROF………..
The last event of the night was the BMX vert finals. Australia’s Vince Byron emerged victorious thanks to 540 flair that earned him a score of 91.