Jason Burnett is headed to his third Olympic Games after securing a men’s trampoline berth for Canada at the last chance qualifier in Rio, which also served as the official test event.
Burnett overcame a poor compulsory routine, that saw him ranked 13th, to perform the fifth-best optional routine which moved him into 10th place overall after the qualification round, which was used to decide the Olympic qualifiers.
In first and second place were gymnasts from China and Belarus, which had already secured three of the eight Olympic spots available at the world championships last fall. There were then five open berths, with a maximum of one per country, which went to competitors from New Zealand, Portugal, the United States, Great Britain and Australia. Burnett was next in line, just 0.030 behind Aussie Blake Gaudry.
To complete the Olympic field of 16, host Brazil was granted a spot. Then there was a place available in case the required representation from four continents was not fulfilled. But with Europe, Asia, the Americas and Oceania all having qualifiers, that spot went to the next highest-ranked athlete, which was Burnett. The final spot will be determined by the Tripartite Commission.
“I’m very happy with my performance today,” said the Beijing 2008 silver medallist. “I accomplished what I set out to do and I can’t ask for anything more than that right now. Dealing with the aftermath of my ACL tear was tough, but we’ve found a number of different strategies that keep my knee happy and strong.”
Burnett underwent surgery on his right knee in October 2014 after suffering a complete ACL tear, second degree MCL tear, medial and lateral meniscus tear, and a bone bruise with microfracture. He was only cleared to resume jumping on his feet in March 2015, which gave him little time to recover before the Pan Am Games and the world championships.
“His resilience should be seen as a model for other athletes because of the two major injuries he has had in this Olympic cycle,” said Gymnastics Canada’s High Performance Director for trampoline, Stephan Duchesne. “I’m convinced Jason will do everything he can to get the best ranking possible in Rio this summer.”
Burnett joins reigning Olympic champion Rosie MacLennan on Canada’s trampoline team, after she locked up a spot for Canada with her fourth place finish at the world championships and then earned her selection following the Canada Cup competition in February.