Fri, September 20, 2013

Jason Burnett tumbles out of Olympic trampoline contention

By THANE BURNETT, QMI Agency


Canada's Jason Burnett competes in men's gymnastics trampoline at the London 2012 Olympic Games, Aug. 3, 2012. (MIKE BLAKE/Reuters)

LONDON - If you go up high, at some point you have to come back down.

Canadian trampolinist Jason Burnett -- who grabbed silver in Beijing during the 2008 Games -- caught his foot Friday trying a demanding routine and was knocked clear off the medal podium.

The Chinese and a Russian would rule the air and the day.

For Burnett, failure was measured in the slightest awkward angle that threw him off as he prepared for some tricks to come.

He was on his way in the finals to what was expected to be a fourth or fifth place finish -- but could have again surprised the world.

The 24-year-old from Toronto, Ont., said he had used tapes of his Beijing performance to inspire him before coming here to compete in London.

And he said he would be watching each agonizing frame of his fall, to also learn from that.

"Absolutely," he answered whether he would study the unintended dynamics and buckling physics that broke his Olympic dream.

"In Beijing I had an incredible experience and came out on top -- I had to experience the exact opposite of that," he reasoned.

"I've failed miserably, some might say, so I get to experience both ends of the spectrum."

Burnett -- who as far as I know isn't related to this writer -- noted he tried to prepare for every eventuality in his mind.

"Crashes happen all the time, and you do what you can to deal with them," he told reporters in a dimly lit press area that suited the occasion well.

Burnett is battling back in the sport from a series of injuries, including a broken leg -- he's hoping to get the last of the five screws and a plate out soon.

He said he felt 100% before taking flight.

"I did wake up pain free today," he said, but explained there are always some aches and pains in his sport.

"They're so common now, that they don't even register," he noted.

Burnett will take a few months off and before starting to prepare for the next Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

Knowing for an Olympian, once you fall, the only direction is up again.

thane.burnett@sunmedia.ca

Twitter: @thaneburnett