Skateboarder Jake Brown made a return to the X Games Big Air mega ramp this year after a terrifying spill last year, but Bob Burnquist and Danny Way provided the real excitement Thursday night.
Bob DanBurnquist won his second straight gold medal on his fifth and final run after watching his friend Danny Way, the event’s inventor and three-time gold medalist, take two awful spills. Way still finished the competition and took silver.
Brown’s initial run was the first televised moment of the X Games.
Jake Brown soared over the ramp’s long 70-foot gap and did a basic 540 spin over the quarterpipe section, landing it to a huge standing ovation and taking the early lead.
“They said you’re going to be first on TV, you better make it,” Brown said after the run. He then started hopping and screaming the names of his competitors, clearly overjoyed that the spotlight would be off him after a year as a TV and viral video star for the 40-foot fall that knocked off his shoes.
He later said with a smile that he was happy he could get the event some publicity. “I think it’s great for the mega ramp and for all of us to get this kind of hype,” Brown said.
Brown finished with a bronze, after two years of silver medals.
Moments after Brown’s run, Way had successfully crossed the ramp’s 70-foot gap when he shot up the quarterpipe, and hit his ankles on its lip on the way down. He fell headfirst to the ground.
Danny Way lay still for about five minutes in a scene eerily familiar to Browns’ a year earlier, though the fall wasn’t quite as spectacular. He didn’t miss a single run and took the lead on his next pass.
But one run later, Way did a dramatic rocket-air flip, shot up the quarterpipe and appeared to land on his way down, but hit his head against the side of the ramp and again lay still for several minutes.
He then got up yet again to take his final run and took the lead yet again with a score of 94 out of 100.
“Everything is hurting,” Way said after the run. “Just trying to get through this thing and stay alive, I guess.”
Burnquist said he wasn’t at all surprised by Way’s repeated returns.
“The guy jumped over the Great Wall of China with a broken ankle,” Burnquist said.
Burnquist, just as he had after Brown’s spill a year ago, won the event on his final run.
Known for his backward or “switch-stance” skating, Burnquist did a backward indy 360 over the long gap, then flew 20 feet over the quarterpipe and barely landed the bold trick backward for a score of 96.
Burnquist said he had thought about trying something more conservative, but couldn’t bring himself to do it.
“The amount of slams Danny took, I couldn’t not go for it, and I’m glad I did,” he said.
Here’s Danny Way getting banged up at the X Games in this video below: (Jake Browns scary spill below)
Here’s Jake Brown’s terrifying spill last year here: