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All downhill from here

Mike Sciacca

It’s been a big competition year for Mark Golter, and it’s only

getting better.

The Laguna Beach native began the season by winning the Extreme

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Downhill International professional world title. Last weekend in New

York, Golter added a gold medal to his credits as he captured first

place in the pro division of the 2002 Two-Man Downhill Skateboarding

competition at the Gravity Games held in Allegany State Park in

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Salamanca, N.Y. The Gravity Games is an international action sports,

lifestyle and music festival featuring more than 200 of the world’s

best professional athletes competing in bike, freestyle motocross,

inline and skating competitions.

“It sure was a big weekend for me,” said the 32-year-old, a 1987

graduate of Laguna Beach High. “I felt great out there and just had

an awesome time.”

Golter, who says in his spare time he tries to reach speeds of 80

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mph, led the pack of competitors from qualifying round competition,

all the way through the finals of the 2002 Two-Man Downhill

Skateboarding competition. In the process, his impressive performance

ended Dane Van Bommel’s two-year reign as the event’s champion.

The competition took place in humid conditions that included

morning showers and an 85-degree day last Sunday.

“That didn’t bother me -- I was ready to go,” he said.

The 14 competitors each take two solo, qualifying runs, and the

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best of their times is used to determine seeding. The event featured

two-man heats and a single elimination format. Golter finished first

among all competitors in qualifiers and had a score of 98.403.

The battle for the gold medal came down to Golter and two-time

defending champ Van Bommel, who came out strong and opened up a big

lead. But Golter fought back and eventually took over the lead

three-quarters through the race, then held off one final charge by

Van Bommel to win the gold. Golter’s finish in the 2002 Gravity Games

earned him $18,500, a great monetary gain for a man whose first

downhill skating video -- completed in 1985, was a class project at

Laguna Beach High, and aired on the city’s local cable channel. The

video, produced by Garth Wykoff, featured a clip of Golter

skateboarding down 3rd Street while his hands were handcuffed behind

his back.

Golter recently completed his first downhill movie, which is the

“first of its kind,” he said. “Stand Up and Be Counted” took three

years to complete.

“While the action sports industry has successfully promoted many

sports through video, such as surfing, snowboarding, wakeboarding,

motocross and BMX, I am the first to produce a video release

exclusively featuring downhill skateboarding,” he said.

The video, Golter said, will be available in October in all major

skateboard shops and also at www.markgolter.com. In addition, NBC,

which televised the Gravity Games and will broadcast the games on a

taped-delayed basis between Oct. 6-Nov. 16, will show a small trailer

of “Stand Up And Be Counted,” he said.

“It’s been an incredible year for me,” Golter added. “I’m having a

great time doing something I really love.”

Golter will attempt to add more to his resume when he returns to

New York this weekend to compete in the first points-rated race for

2003 in Madison County.


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