Burnquist pulls out another win in big air
This time, Jake Brown did not hush the crowd with a perilous-looking fall.
Danny Way did.
But stylishly stealing the show, once again, was Bob Burnquist.
Going last and needing a winning score to prevail in the skateboard big-air final Thursday night at Staples Center, as he required and obtained last year, Burnquist pulled off an astounding trick to win gold for the second consecutive year.
But more on that in a moment. . . .
Brown, 33, was the story of last year’s X Games, after crash-landing from 46 feet on his fifth and final run, earning a three-day stay in the hospital and countless stories on the nightly news.
He was back on the daunting mega-ramp for the first time since. He stuck his first of five runs over the 70-foot gap and 27-foot quarterpipe wall -- performing an admittedly bland trick in comparison -- and the crowd breathed a collective sigh of relief.
His score of 85.33 put him into a temporary lead, and he’d hold on for the bronze.
The Carlsbad skateboarder said he had no fear and, in fact, relished being back on what has become the X Games’ most exciting venue:
“It’s great to see the mega-ramp get so much hype and not just because of me but all of us going nuts. I can’t wait till next year so we can blow people away again.”
Way the hard way
Encinitas’ Way, who won the first three X Games big-air contests and missed last year’s because of knee surgery, slammed into the quarterpipe coping from 23 feet with his feet and legs on his second run, and rag-dolled seemingly lifeless down the wall.
He lay in a heap for several minutes then rose and walked off, with help, into a medical facility. A doctor told him he had a broken foot and to call it quits for the night.
Way said he told the doctor “he’d have to fight me” to keep him from competing, went back to the mega-ramp, and on his third run he performed a rocket-air back-flip over the gap and 540 over the quarterpipe to earn a 90.33 and move into the lead.
Said Brown: “It’s the craziest thing we’ve ever seen and it shows how gnarly these dudes are.”
His kick-flip 180 over the gap and McTwist -- which is essentially a twisting backflip -- over the quarterpipe earned a 93.33 and put him in front.
Way, who returned from a fourth-run slam to stick a backflip into a varial 540 McTwist for a 94.00, left Burnquist in a familiar position.
Last year the Vista resident needed, and received, a winning score to edge Brown, who was in front based on a third-round score.
This time he got it with a switch backside ollie into an Indy 360 above the quarterpipe. Basically, he dropped in switch-stance and performed almost his entire routine backward for a 96.00 and another victory.
For the second year in a row, Burnquist described the competition as “the most intense” he’d ever been part of.
Way was taken to a hospital for observation and indeed had broken his foot, his publicist confirmed.
Moto X best-trick, like big-air, is an event that keeps fans on edge and sometimes pummels riders.
Jim DeChamp suffered a back injury after bailing before his landing, while trying to front-flip his motorcycle. He did not make his second run and it remains unclear whether he’ll be able to act as navigator for Travis Pastrana, as planned, in Sunday’s rally car final.
Winner of best-trick was Kyle Loza, with a trick called “Electric Death,” which is essentially a gainer performed above his seat as his motorcycle soared over a jump.
The name of the trick was his agent’s idea, he said.
Down and out
One of the most inspiring stories of the X Games may have become a non-story Thursday when Ashley Fiolek, the gold-medal favorite for Saturday’s inaugural Moto X Racing women’s final, injured her left shoulder in practice.
Fiolek, 17, who reportedly fell head-first after a jump at the Red Bull facility near Lake Piru, suffered a bruised or slightly fractured scapula.
Her family did not rule out her participation in Saturday’s final, but a spokeswoman for Red Bull, the athlete’s sponsor, said she would not compete.
On Wednesday, Fiolek, who is 5 feet 1, 105 pounds and deaf, said of her achievements so far:
“It doesn’t matter what your handicap is. If you have a dream and you want to go after it, and you’re willing to work for it and try your best, then it’ll happen.”
Kevin Robinson endured several dramatic slams while trying 360s over the 70-foot mega-ramp jump in Thursday’s BMX big-air practice, but shook them off and fortunately did not add to his stat book.
What’s in that book?
“I’m 36 and just had my 28th surgery and I’ve lost count of how many bones I’ve broken,” he said. “And I’ve had 25 concussions that I’ve been unconscious with and I definitely feel my injuries in cold weather.”
Robinson, who won gold in both big-air events since it became a medal sport in 2006, recently moved from Rhode Island to Carlsbad.
Freestyle motocross legend Brian Deegen, blogging about his recent move to the ESPN broadcast booth:
“I am starting a strict training regiment [sic] to prepare for TV. I will be hitting the tanning bed and hair salon daily.
“I am bringing back the Vanilla Ice hairstyle.”
Where: Staples Center (and Event Deck at LA Live) and the Home Depot Center.
Tickets: $10-$20 for all-day entry. Available on site or via Ticketmaster and Ticketmaster.com.
TODAY’S MEDAL EVENT FINALS
3 p.m.-3:45 p.m.: Skateboard Street Women’s Final, Event Deck at LA Live
4:30 p.m.-5:15 p.m.: Skateboard Street Men’s Final, Event Deck at LA Live
5:45 p.m.-7 p.m.: BMX Freestyle Big Air Final, Staples Center
7 p.m.-8 p.m.: Moto X Step Up Final, Staples Center