Levi Sherwood, the 20-year-old New Zealander, announced his return to X Games competition with a silver in the Moto X Freestyle contest. Sherwood, who competes in the Red Bull X-Fighters series, also won silver in 2010.
But in 2011, he crashed two months prior to the Summer X Games, injuring his left wrist, liver, lung, kidney and back. Now fully recovered, Sherwood doesn't seem to have lost a step, recently winning the Red Bull X-Fighters opener in Dubai.
"After my injury last year and having a lot of time off my bike, I feel like I've found the fun again," he told ESPN earlier this week.
At X Games 18, Sherwood could not overcome a spectacular performance by Taka Higashino, of Japan, on the dirt course inside the Staple Center. Higashino came to play. On the first jump of his very first run, he pulled out a backflip Rock Solid double grab -- which, until Thursday, had never been landed.
"This is my last competition, I'm retiring now that I have the gold," Higashino joked. "Now I'm looking forward to getting my green card on Saturday."
Javier Villegas earned the bronze medal, becoming the first Chilean to ever medal at the X Games.
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