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X Games 16

Jake Brown takes gold in skateboard big air at X Games

The Australian wins the event for the second straight year, beating out Bob Burnquist with a backflip and a 540-degree spin at 21 feet, 8 inches.

July 29, 2010|By Baxter Holmes

Bob Burnquist had one shot Thursday night. Sitting in second place behind Jake Brown, the man who beat him for an X Games gold medal last year, Burnquist settled on a 900-degree spin, 2 ½ full air rotations — skateboarding's most difficult trick.

Burnquist tore down the 80-foot ramp that launched him across the 70-foot gap, then sped up the 27-foot high quarterpipe. He went into the spin as he and his skateboard skied past the lip of the pipe.

All looked good, but he failed to nail the landing, giving Brown gold again in the skateboard big air event, this one at X Games 16 in the Coliseum. 

"I just felt like I could put it down," said Burnquist, whose final score of 93 was just behind Carslbad, Calif.-native Brown's 93.66.

Had he landed it, Brown said he would've had to try a 900 on his final run to top it.

"But I didn't want to try one," Brown said. "I didn't feel comfortable yet. I was really close last year, but this year I didn't have enough practice."

The 900 is often spoken of in those terms: mythical. Players know if they're close, and if they're not. Burnquist felt he was, and even after the event was over, tried five more times to nail it.

"Did you get it?" asked Rob Lorifice, who received the bronze with his 87.66, as Burnquist sat down in the interview room.

"Nah," Burnquist said.

Brown's winning run was his second of the five. He did a back flip across the gap and followed that by hitting a 540-degree spin at 21 feet 8 inches off the vertical ramp.

Pastrana's gold

After six years away from moto X freestyle, Travis Pastrana returned to claim his seventh X Games gold medal, and did so in the Coliseum, defeating rookie rider Levi Sherwood by one point, 80-79.

"This is the first one I didn't really expect to come out with," Pastrana said. "I didn't have the best tricks."

Nate Adams took bronze, as Sherwood and Pastrana separated themselves from the rest of the competition from the beginning.

Pastrana now has 16 total X Games medals and will compete in three more events before the weekend ends, but not best trick, which he pulled out of Wednesday.

Fiolek repeats

Ashley Fiolek won her second straight gold medal in the super X women's final, finishing with a time of 6:37.142. Tarah Gieger was second, at 6:43.741.

Though she's only in her third year of competing, Fiolek is already considered one of the dominant athletes in her sport.

She's perhaps the most inspiring, too, because Fiolek is deaf, and uses the shadows of other riders and the vibrations of her bike to help her during the race.

"It's so awesome to me," she said through an interpreter. "Christmas is early this year."

She also said the fact that she's deaf doesn't bother her at all.

"It shouldn't bother anybody," she said.

Track troubles

Josh Hansen led for most of the 15-lap men's super X final but was overtaken in the final laps and finished with the bronze medal behind Justin Brayton, who finished second, and Josh Grant, who won gold with a time of 13:08.84

But a big topic of conversation was the track.

Many motocross and supercross riders complained that the dirt was too loose and that they had problems seeing through all the dust, which, when combined with the bright sun, made the track difficult to ride on.

"The whole track was pretty much blown out, so it wasn't good," Grant said.

X Games officials did try to spray the course down, but it dried quickly in the sun. The players suggested holding the event at night so that moisture could hold the ground in place longer.

Schultz triumphs

Mike Schultz won his first gold after taking Thursday's super X adaptive Thursday at the Coliseum, leading from start to finish in the six-lap final race.

Schultz, who won the silver in the event last year, edged Cottonwood, Calif., native Todd Thompson by about two seconds, and Schultz struggled somewhat with his custom-built prosthesis during the race.

"I wasn't able to stand up on my prosthetic side so I lost a few places, but we pulled it off and ended up in the lead, so it's good," he said.

Schultz had his left leg amputated after an accident in 2008.

Young in finals

San Diego's Gary Young qualified first in the BMX freestyle park elimination, advancing to Saturday's finals.

Brett Banasiewicz, a 15-year-old from South Bend, Ind., finished second. Behind him was Diogo Canina, the two-time silver medalist.

Times staff  writers Laura Myers and DeAntae Prince contributed to this report.

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