Bob Burnquist reclaims X Games gold medal in Skateboarding Big-Air

The spotlight was on 14-year-old Mitchie Brusco during Friday night’s X Games Skateboarding Big-Air competition, but it was Bob Burnquist who stole the show and reclaimed a title held for the past two years by perennial rival Jake Brown.

Burnquist, 34, who hobbled into the Los Angeles event with an array of injuries, took the lead on his second of five runs by performing a switch 180 over the 70-foot gap of the MegaRamp, then sticking a double-grab 540 he performed 20 feet above the quarterpipe wall. That earned a score of 92.66, placing him ahead of Adam Taylor.

Burnquist, who won the competition in 2007-08, matched his winning score on his fourth run with a switch 540/double-grab 540 combo (see video).

Brown, 36, who had been Burnquist’s nemesis for the past two years, nailing the winning run at the end of both competitions, was unable to complete a routine on either of his five runs. He fell while attempting a back-flip over the gap on his final run.

Taylor ended up in second with a score of 89.66, reaching the podium for the first time in the event. Brazil’s Edgard Pereria was third (87.00).

Afterward, Burnquist said that he was just happy to have completed a scoring run on an apparatus as difficult as the MegaRamp.

It was a difficult night indeed, as only six full routines were completed — two by Burnquist — out of 40 attempts by the eight finalists.

As for Brusco, the youngest competitor at the X Games and only the second person ever to have landed a 900 on a MegaRamp (during practice for an event in Brazil; Burnquist was the first), he turned in an admirable fifth-place performance on the merit of a backside 360/540 combo.

Brusco, who stands only 5 feet 1 and weighs just 95 pounds, was not disappointed with his performance against the daredevil sport’s luminaries. He told sideline reporter Jenn Brown: “I’m feeling good. I didn’t expect to do anything; I’m just happy to be here.”

Fans can expect a lot more from Brusco, nicknamed “Little Tricky,” in the years to come.

— Bob Burnquist image is courtesy of GettyImages/Harry How.