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Rodriguez wins Skateboard Street title as Sheckler leaves with injury

August 1, 2009 |  4:00 pm

Rodriguez1 Ask Paul Rodriguez Jr. to explain his perfect switch heelflip Saturday, and the Los Angeles native will spend nearly a minute dissecting the intricacies of how wind played a factor in the move.

But just to make certain that everyone would comprehend, Rodriguez put matters in simple terms.

“Excuse my French,” he said in the end, “but I pulled it out of my [butt].”

With that method, Rodriguez won the gold medal in the skateboard street men’s final at Home Depot Center.

He went through a four-year drought without the gold after having placed second in last year's competition.

Saturday, he led in the first two heats and had a minor hiccup in the latter stages of the third. Still, he recovered with the switch heelflip to secure first-place honors.

"It feels good to be back," he said immediately after walking off the victory podium.

"It's been a huge itch and it finally got scratched."

In essence, Rodriguez dethroned Ryan Sheckler, who was primed to be his stiffest competitor. But Sheckler, who won the gold medal last year, did not complete the competition.

Immediately after landing awkwardly in the third heat, Sheckler clutched his right foot and repeatedly said, “It’s broken.” He was helped off the course and did not return.

At that time, Sheckler was tied for fourth place.

"It's a weird mixture of feelings," Rodriguez said. "You definitely don't want to think about injuries in the middle of these contests, because ... you're definitely trying tricks that on a regular basis you're not going to just being trying without being scared.

"When the pressure's on you just have to go for it."

Rodriguez finished atop the six-man competition with a final score of 390.

Nyjah Huston of Huntington Beach posted consistent scores throughout the heats to earn the silver medal. Adam Dyet, who finished fifth after the first heat, recovered from a sluggish start to collect the bronze medal.

“It’s been like four years since I won the last one. So it’s good to know I can still hang with these youngsters – killing it, coming up," said Rodriguez, 24. "Hopefully I get a bunch more years to be doing good.”

-- Mario Aguirre from Home Depot Center