Burnquist nails three-peat Big Air gold
Brazilian star Bob Burnquist kicked off the first night of competition at X Games Foz with a thrilling Skateboard Big Air session to become the discipline's first three-peat champion in front of an enthusiastic home crowd on Thursday.
Burnquist now has 23 X Games medals, tied with Shaun White for the second-most in X Games history, behind BMXer Dave Mirra.
"We've had these MegaRamp events here and I've gotten wins here, but this was unique," Burnquist said. "I'm really stoked. And to do it here at home, as the first main X Games, I can't ask for anything better."
An on-point Elliot Sloan claimed silver. Australia's 38-year-old Jake Brown took home the bronze medal, along the way penning a new page in the history books of skateboarding with the first ollie 720.
"I didn't even know that I made it until I got way down [the ramp]," Brown said after nailing his historic trick.
Judges gave Brown a near-perfect 24 points out of a possible 25.
"It's huge," added the 36-year-old Burnquist. "That's an ollie 7 in competition. That's a video trick."
In the women's Enduro X final, Spanish rider Laia Sanz foiled Maria Forsberg's bid at a three-peat after passing her in one of the first obstacle sections, taking an early 15-second lead and eventually lapping most competitors.
Sanz finished with a time of 1:03:76 -- 32 seconds ahead of Forsberg. Tarah Gieger, Forberg's longtime rival, finished in third place with a time of 1:12.49.
I've done 720s, but not ollie 720s. That was a wild one.Skateboarder Jake Brown
"I think it helped me that it was really, really slippery, and my trials experience was really important," Sanz said, in a podium interview. "I didn't know that it would be like this, so I'm really excited and really happy and I need to say thank you to my family, my friends and everybody that was supporting me here."
Sanz's 32-second win certainly qualifies as a major upset, as Forsberg was previously undefeated in X Games Enduro X competition and went nearly undefeated in everything else in 2012.
It also might fuel talk of a budding rivalry with Sanz, the top qualifier ahead of Thursday night's final and a podium threat in any event she enters. But that will have to wait, as she says she won't be in the mix for next month's X Games Barcelona event because it conflicts with her Enduro World Championship schedule.
"I will not be in Barcelona because I have Enduro World rounds but may be in Los Angeles," Sanz said.
Also on Thursday, Polish rider Taddy Blazusiak won the men's Enduro X finals after trading the lead back and forth with American rider and defending silver medalist Cody Webb.
Both riders labored through all six laps on the rigorous course, with Blazusiak taking an early lead after going head-to-head with David Knight, then relinquishing it to Webb, a former trials champion. The two battled back and forth, with each getting caught up several times.
"I don't know how it looks on TV, but I have never ridden something as hard as this track," Blazusiak said. "It's so slick. ... I'm super stoked on first place. I gave it all I had and I'm so pumped."
Mike Brown, the defending 2012 X Games Los Angeles gold medalist, finished in sixth, behind fellow Americans Colton Haaker and Taylor Robert.
In the Big Air event, Sloan and Brazil's Edgard Pereira lit up the gap jam early (with a kick flip mute 360 and a heel flip body varial 360, respectively). Then, Burnquist raised the bar with an utterly baffling body varial 360 ollie.
With the door now cracked open to a previously unknown realm of skateboarding -- and the hooting crowd working itself into a lather -- Sloan staked out the new territory with an unprecedented tail-grab 720.
Then came Brown's historic ollie 720, the first double-rotation, no-handed aerial ever landed -- anywhere, in any skate discipline.
"I've done 720s, but not ollie 720s," Brown said. "That was a wild one, the one I landed. It was a contest. I just had to go for it. I've made one, it's time to keep them coming."
With one round to go, Burnquist held a slim lead ahead of Brown and Sloan thanks to his 20-foot indy 360 with just a few minutes left on the clock.
"I thought I was going to hang up," said Burnquist, on the trick that thrust him into the second-stage points lead. "But I thought in the middle in my run, 'If I hang up, I hang up.' But I landed it. That's about as scared as I want to be tonight, but I have to go again."
Information from XGames.com contributors Keith Hamm and Colin Bane was included in this report.