IT'S ALL ABOUT BOB
“I don’t know what hurts him most,” Weiss said, “the slam, or getting robbed.”
Yeah, Jake should have won. After 13 years, ESPN was given the opportunity to do something right, but they showed once again that they just don’t get it. What an amazing story they would have had to pump on their network: underdog skater falls 45 feet, survives AND wins gold. They missed such a great opportunity by giving Bob first. Even without the sympathy points, I think Jake wins on paper.
Jake: 70’ 360 ollie to 23’ 540.
Bob: 70’ switch b/s 180 to 16’ f/s 540.
“So how much money did you have on Bob?” I asked judges Chris Miller and Tony Magnusson the next day. “Because that was retarded.”
“Hey,” Tony said, “I was the only judge that said Jake won.”
Well good for Tony Mag. But I’m disappointed in the other three judges: Chris Miller, Sasha Steinhorst and Hosoi. Apparently they couldn’t decide who won and so threw up their hands and let ESPN make the call. And of course they’re going to give it to their golden boy, Bob.
“Man, I don’t know,” Tony Hawk said when I asked him who he thought won. “I would go with Jake. The reason they gave it to Bob, and I know this, is because no one has ever done a f/s five. And whenever someone does something that hasn’t been done, they count it for so much more.”
“I didn’t think anyone had done a 360 ollie in a contest before?” I said.
“They’ve seen him do it, though, you know what I mean?” Tony said. “They hadn’t seen Bob make a f/s five. I’m just saying in the minds of the judges that’s what they were thinking. To me, a 360 ollie over 70 feet? That’s it.”
But they had also seen Bob do switch b/s 180s. Bob, in fact, warms up with a switch b/s 180. As one person observed, switch isn’t as big of a deal today as it used to be. And since the judges are all old farts who come from a time when switch didn’t exist, I think they gave it a little more merit than necessary. I know for a fact they did because I spoke with them after. Chris Miller, for one, was absolutely smitten with the switch b/s 180. I don’t want to take anything away from Bob’s run, but I, and I think most people, think Jake’s was better.
Danny Way also later said the gold should have gone to Jake. His reasoning was, “The contest is called, Big Air Contest. And Jake went bigger.”
Simple as that.
The judges told me that they weren’t allowed to factor in any outside factors: they had to choose who had the best single run. Anything beyond that didn’t count. So Jake’s 720 over the gap that he did just before the slam was ignored. Which I disagree with because he had never made that before in his life and to try it and make it in a contest situation just shows that he was going bigger than Bob. Also, they should have taken into consideration the fact that Bob got six runs to every one else’s five. Apparently he complained that he was distracted by a motorcycle during one of his earlier runs.
“This is the XGames, not Wimbledon,” a friend said when he heard that.
Pierre Luc also took a run with a motorcycle in the background, but he didn’t complain.
But, again, as Danny said, none of that should matter: Jake went bigger. And, frankly, looked better.
And after that slam, I think the gentlemanly thing to do would have been to have just ended the contest right there and given it to Jake. He was in first place. He had won. But no, Bob had to go and take his extra run and try and win it. As I’ve said, he didn’t win it, but the fact that he wanted to beat a fellow skater who had just taken one of the hardest slams ever isn’t really congruent with the spirit of skateboarding. Or even the spirit of sport, for that matter. When did “winning at all cost” creep into skateboarding?
“That’s Bob,” Gentry said. “It’s all about Bob.”
And as we all know, the XGames aren’t going to be paying Jake’s hospital bills because they don’t provide insurance for their event. So Jake will have to use the $20,000 he got for second to pay for his slam. While ESPN will continue to reap the benefit of that footage for years to come. Twenty grand’s not bad, but I’m sure he’d prefer the $60,000 that ESPN gave Bob for first. I’m not suggesting this should be a charity, but the injustice of the whole thing grows worse when you know Bob’s pretty well off, while Jake barely has a pot to piss in. What’s Bob going to do with the money, buy another mango grove, or put a yoga studio in his house?
Lastly, those theatrics at the end there, the rolling around on the ramp, holding his head, “I’m so huuuurt,” (Jake’s the one that fell out of a fucking building!)—come on, dude, leave that shit on the soccer pitch.
Jake should have won. But fortunately his injuries weren’t too bad and, while it’s a tough way to succeed, that slam is actually opening a lot of doors for him. I know a number of TV shows wanted him for interviews and apparently his sponsors are making him real offers now.
How he didn't die is astounding, though. He hit the flat so hard his fucking shoes flew off into the crowd. The fact that there's nothing wrong with him is wrong in itself. But I'm glad he's okay.
“I’ve always said that he’s had this rare condition since birth,” Weiss said. “It’s like his skull is so thick, there’s no room for a brain. He’s the literal definition of a bone head.”