X Games medical staff officially have cleared Bob Burnquist for Friday's Skateboard Big Air final, after an injury in practice on Tuesday. Burnquist hit his tailbone and injured his lower back on Tuesday and spent the rest of the week off his board, missing practice on the X Games Big Air Ramp. However, X-rays showed no broken bones, and he was given a clean bill of health Friday morning.
As the defending gold medalist in the event, Burnquist advances directly to final and did not have to compete in Thursday's elimination round, where Brazilians Rony Gomes and Edgard Pereira and two-time gold medalist Jake Brown of Australia came out on top and Big Air fans got a glimpse of the future as both 15-year-old Mitchie Brusco and 12-year-old Tom Schaar landed 900s in their runs.
"Alright, just so it's clear," Burnquist tweeted on Thursday, dispelling rumors. "I have a Golden ticket to finals for being last year's Gold medalist. Not because I'm hurt."
Burnquist, a 21-time X Games medalist, will meet the top 11 qualifiers in the final on Friday, airing on ESPN from 9 p.m. to 12 a.m. ET. He has a MegaRamp structure in his backyard and has helped drive progression in the sport. In January 2011, he attended the grand opening of the MegaRamp at the Woodward West action sports camp, where Brusco, Schaar, and the other young riders have been working on their chops.
Burnquist previously has won the Big Air event three times. A win on Friday would put him ahead of Danny Way for the most X Games Big Air gold medals. To get there, he'll have to get through Schaar -- the only skateboarder ever to land a 1080 -- and the other young challengers, as well as Big Air veterans like Brown.
"I'm no Jake Brown and definitely no Danny Way," Burnquist tweeted earlier in the week. "So I'm working hard to recover in time for finals on Friday. I'm inspired by those guys. Always."