Chris Haffey powered his way to victory to win the last 2011 X Games gold medal in the Aggressive In-Line Street Finals in Shanghai.
It was a clash of styles during the contest, with sharp contrasts between Jeff Stockwell’s languid movement, Brian Aragon’s balletic and graceful manner, and Haffey’s quick-paced and powerful style coming up tops at the Jiangwan Stadium.
Stockwell set the tone early in the first run of the finals, with the bespectacled and somewhat bookish looking skater finishing off a picture perfect series of tricks that culminated in him doing a 360 spin on the transition pipe.
Haffey was not slow to respond though, pulling off several reverse 360s, and in the second run his decision to go with a 540, followed by a 360 top sole, top-side Mistral, Tyre-Spin, and finish off with a Blackside proved to be the right choice, as the judges tipped their hats to him for completing such a hard combination with the gold medal.
The American looked exhausted, but satisfied as he stepped off the podium.
“This really exceeded my expectations”, Haffey admitted, ” as everyone in the field was just so good.”
The skater felt that he had been lucky to be in the first heat, compared to rival Aragon, who had barely a few minutes after exerting himself in the second heat before returning to the finals for another punishing set of runs.
“I was really a lot fresher than Aragon, because I was in the first heat”, he explained.
“That really made a difference, as he was a lot more winded than I was.”
Haffey also admitted that the support from the fans upclose was critical to him finding a second wind in the finals.
“The crowd here is just fantastic! The fans just give that extra burst of energy, and that really matters”, he said.
But it wasn’t just the American who was pumped up by the thousands at the Jiangwan Stadium.
Asia’s representative on the podium, Soichiro Kanashima, was equally enthused by how much noise the Shanghai crowd could produce.
The Japanese is an X Games veteran, having participated in over ten editions of the competition, snapping up two bronzes, one silver and three golds, and Kanashima felt that China was still the best location for the competition.
“I like it best in China, said the skater. It’s good here, and the fans give me power”, he said.
If skaters like Kanashima and Haffey continue to give fans at the Jiangwan Stadium this much fun and excitement next year, expect an even more electrifying X Games in 2012!