Sixteen-year-old skateboarder Mitchie Brusco took a break from practicing for this week's Skateboard Vert and Big Air competitions at X Games Los Angeles to make a brief trip to Burbank, Calif., on Monday to visit with Conan O'Brien. Brusco last made the talk show circuit as a five-year-old skate prodigy and says he's honored to have earned his way back now that the novelty factor of his age has worn off.
"It's really cool to feel like I've earned the spots that I've gotten now, and to have done well enough to get these kinds of opportunities -- instead of just getting them for being the little kid," Brusco told XGames.com.
Brusco has truly arrived, winning three X Games medals since his silver in Skateboard Big Air at X Games L.A. 2012. At X Games Barcelona he took home another Big Air silver and a bronze in Vert, which he followed with another Vert bronze at X Games Munich. Conan O'Brien opened his interview with footage from Barcelona's Big Air contest, where Brusco became the first skater to land a 1080 in competition.
Brusco revealed his secret weapon -- butt pads -- to O'Brien, but said the 1260 isn't necessarily next on his trick list.
"I think the progression of skateboarding is in other areas than just spinning. Like combining tricks with the 1080, I think, would be more impressive than just spinning another 180," Brusco told O'Brien.
He'll get a chance to show off some of those new combos this week but says he knows he'll have his work cut out for him.
"At the other three events this year there were only eight invited skaters, and here there are 20," Brusco told XGames.com. "It leaves room for a lot of the other guys to come in and prove their worth, and a lot of these guys are going to be top spot contenders."
Brusco sat the Big Air competition out last month in Munich, citing back pains, but says he's back in top form and aims to compete in both events this week.
"I feel really good actually," he said. "I've been doing different exercises for my back and I just can't wait to compete. I'm really excited."