Big Air Competition X Games 2012: Burnquist's Gold Ups Skater to Legend Status

Luis Batlle@lbatll1Contributor IJune 30, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 30:  Bob Burnquist of Brazil competes in the Skateboard Big Air Final during X Games 15 at the Staples Center on July 30, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.  Burnquist would finish in second place.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

Not only was it a gold medal win or his fourth first-place finish at the Big Air, but it was also the moment when Bob Burnquist became an X Games legend.

With a gold at the 2012 Big Air Competition, "the kid-slapping grandpa," as Burnquist jokingly dubbed himself, was able to knock off some of the youngest, most skilled talent he has ever faced.  He says it was the competition's outright impressive skill that pushed him to greatness this year.

His ollie over a 60-foot-plus gap and a 720 onto a pipe gave Burnquist the best run of the entire competition. It was more impressive than anything ever put on display at these games.

Now with an extensive tenure in the X Games, overtaking tough, young competition for back-to-back gold medals at the event, as well as his countless wins as a skater, Burnquist might well be one of the greatest to ever grace the sport.

His tenure at the X Games is arguably his most ridiculous accomplishment on paper. This is a guy, 35 years of age, that has been a competitor over half of his life. Skating competitively since 1992, this is his 20th season as master on the board.

Talk about one heck of a run. Considering the chance of injury in such a body-grinding sport makes this feat all the more impressive for Burnquist.

It is also important to consider just how monumental this win was. He won his fourth gold medal at the event, and it wasn't just a repeat of last year's win. It was one in which he dominated especially skilled, younger skaters.

He topped 12-year-old Tom Schaar, who had beat him in Asia just before the games. Burnquist also topped Rony Gomes, 20, who proved to be an outright beast in the eliminations round Thursday. To be able to top these two young talents was a feat in itself, let alone being able to take down the entire field.

More importantly, the win gives him a jaw-dropping 21 X Games medals, tied for the second-most in its history.

To be able to boast such a tenure, win 20-plus medals, and dominate the competition at age 35 is unreal and deserves its praise. Burnquist's injury and comeback at this year's X Games was the icing on the cake, while his win at the Big Air was simply the cherry on top.