LONDON - Canada's Jason Burnett planned to do one of the most difficult routines of the men's trampoline competition at the London Games on Friday.
He never got the chance to really show it off.
Burnett reached the final but made a mistake on the first of his 10 skills and had to settle for an eighth-place finish. A slight over-rotation affected his second move and Burnett was forced to land along the padded edge that protects the springs.
He flailed in the air toward the middle of the trampoline and landed on his feet as a look of crushing disappointment washed over his face.
There would be no return to the Olympic podium that he reached four years ago as a silver medallist in Beijing.
"You show up well prepared and then you roll the dice and see what happens," said coach Dave Ross. "They might come out two sixes, they might come out two ones."
Burnett hit snake eyes early.
A difficulty score of 18.2 was possible if he had hit his planned moves, a number that was slightly higher than the level in gold medallist Dong Dong's routine.
The Canadian planned to do the same five tricks as his solid preliminary round and then really show some twist-heavy moves over the back half. However, when he was forced to lean backwards before his second trick, his takeoff was affected and it ended his routine a few seconds later.
"Another couple of inches he would have been able to keep going," Ross said. "But you land on the springs, you don't get any bounce."
The trampoline looks like a postage stamp when you're soaring 30 feet in the air. Even a slight error while an athlete is airborne doing somersaults and twists can have consequences.
Burnett said if done properly, he should have been propelled straight up for his second trick. Instead he was sent towards the framepads.
"That's just part of trampoline," he said. "Crashes happen all the time and you do what you can do deal with them."
Burnett and Ross sat grim-faced as the scores were read out. Burnett then returned to the athlete seating area at the North Greenwich Arena to watch the five remaining competitors.
Dong was joined on the podium by Chinese compatriot Lu Chunlong and Dmitry Ushakov of Russia, who took the silver. Lu won gold at the Beijing Games while Dong took the bronze in 2008.
At 34, Athens gold medallist Yuriy Nikitin of Ukraine was the oldest competitor in the 16-man field but he did not reach the final round.
Burnett broke his right leg a few years ago and has had several nagging injuries in the leadup to the Games. Ross estimated the training time was cut in half for the four-year period.
Burnett said he felt "100 per cent" entering the competition and he appeared confident as he waved to the near-capacity crowd when the eight finalists were introduced. His plan was to tweak some things from the qualifying session and wow the judges with his height and difficulty of the routine.
"I felt there was a lot I could have improved upon and I knew the mistakes I'd made and I was ready to correct them," he said. "It's just that I didn't get there."
There were pockets of flag-waving Canadian fans spread out around the 20,000-seat venue. One female fan tried to lift Burnett's spirits by bellowing out, "We love you Jason," as the crowd gave him a nice round of applause.
The 25-year-old from Nobleton, Ont., was still in fairly good spirits after the competition. He plans to take a couple of months off before looking ahead to the Rio Games in 2016.
"Sometimes the day doesn't go as you hoped," Burnett said with a shrug.
Canadians Karen Cockburn of Stouffville, Ont., and Rosie MacLennan of King City, Ont., will compete in women's trampoline on Saturday.
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