The Travis Pastrana Show did not materialize as many had hoped.
The most electrifying performer in the history of freestyle motocross essentially fizzled in flight while he attempted a seemingly impossible back flip and 360-degree rotation during Friday night's moto X best trick contest.
Pastrana looked as though he were piloting an out-of-control helicopter and crash-landed into the dirt on his backside and hip.
The nine-time X Games gold medalist rose to his feet, eventually, amid raucous Staples Center applause. But he was too sore to make his second run, allowing Kyle Loza to steal the spotlight.
"I thought I had it, then halfway through I knew I was not even close," said Pastrana, 25, who had not competed in the event since landing the sport's first double back flip in 2006.
Loza, 23, winner of the contest in 2007 and 2008, ran last and decided he'd be the one to electrify the crowd.
His trick, which he named Electric Doom -- with a hint of a Kiss of Death thrown in -- essentially entailed performing a backward somersault and body extension while back-flipping his motorcycle, keeping only one hand on a grip.
Said Loza, who won with a score of 89.20, of Pastrana: "I didn't even know Travis was riding till about a week ago. I just try to go out there and do my own thing."
Why take the risk?
Todd Potter, 24, a Metal Mulisha rider who won gold in Thursday's best whip event and bronze in the best trick competition, said of millionaire Pastrana's return to best trick and the high death factor associated with his trick:
"The guy has everything he's ever wanted, including a TV show. I don't know why he'd want to come out and compete against a bunch of no-name kids."
Gold the hard Way
With his injured right leg reduced to the consistency of slightly undercooked pasta, Danny Way, as he so often does, found a way to win the inaugural skateboard big-air rail jam final.
Way, 35, a day earlier had been walking on crutches because of a knee injury suffered Wednesday in practice.
On Friday, he injured his right ankle after falling awkwardly on his first run during the 30-minute jam format.
But late in the competition on the big-air mega-ramp, he edged Bob Burnquist with a switch-stance 50-50 truck grind across the 28-foot rainbow rail -- after launching from a 50-foot roll-in ramp -- to earn a score of 92.00.
He said afterward, "I don't know why I always have to be the guy who gets hurt and has to prove that you can keep going when you get hurt."
Way, who has three golds and a silver in the skateboarding big air competition, might never have been physically sound during an X Games competition.
Stewart is out
James Stewart, 23, who was hoping to make his X Games debut, was injured during seeding trials for today's moto X supermoto final and will not participate in that event or the super X final.
His shoulder injury was not discovered to be serious, though.
Among athletes to watch today is Ashley Fiolek, 18, a deaf motocross racer favored to win the women's moto X super X final.
Fiolek, who was injured and did not compete in last year's inaugural super X competition, is dominating the American Motorcycle Assn.'s women's circuit, having won five of six races.
The Florida athlete, who relies on her sense of feel to determine when to shift gears, cites at least one advantage to being deaf: She cannot hear the competition breathing down her neck, making it easier to concentrate on her riding.
Oft-injured Kevin Robinson, who won Friday night's BMX big air final with a no-hands back flip over the gap and no-handed flair above the mega-ramp's quarter pipe, informed reporters that his doctor is his best friend.
"But I don't know if that's a good thing," he added, in retrospect.