LOS ANGELES ≠ World Freestyle Association (WFA) Step Up
2003 champion Matt Buyten won top honors in his first ever
X Games appearance, landing a 32í0" jump that placed him
ahead of reigning three-time X Games Moto X Step Up gold
medallist Tommy Clowers. Clowers cleared the bar at 31í6",
but failed to match Buytenís stunning 32í0" launch in his
final attempt. When Clowers hit the bar on the last jump
of the afternoon, Buyten and the crowd at STAPLES Center
went wild. A new Moto X Step Up king had claimed the gold
at X Games IX. With the crowd roaring and the victory sealed,
Buyten pumped his fist, and was hoisted onto the shoulders of
two of his fellow riders.
"My bike was good and in tune so things worked out," said
Buyten, a native of Carsen City, Nevada, "The first step
was at qualifiers, and I just had to stay consistent."
Buyten qualified for X Games IX at the October 2002 WFA
Reno Qualifier. Tommy Clowers had won first place at X
Games Moto X Step Up for three consecutive years before being
dethroned by Matt Buyten at STAPLES Center.
"I went out to win gold, but I got the silver," said Clowers,
a native of Ramona, California, "I gave it my all. Thatís just
the way it goes."
Ronnie Renner, who tied for third place at X Games VII in 2001,
took away the bronze solo this year. Six other competitors
were tied at 28í0" behind Renner, who registered a maximum
height of 31í0" in six total attempts.
"Iím psyched to have X Games back in California," said Renner,
"I live in Long Beach, so I get to bring my boys out." Ronnieís
youngest son Racer (9 months old) wore his fatherís medal while in
his arms on the podium, his older brother Rider just below him
at his fatherís side.