Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Trampolining is a competitive sport in which gymnasts perform acrobatics while bouncing on a trampoline. These can include simple jumps in the pike, tuck or straddle position to more complex combinations of forward or backward somersaults and twists.
There are two related competitive sports, Synchronized trampoline and Double Mini-trampoline.
In the early 1930s, George Nissen observed trapeze artistes performing tricks when bouncing off the safety net. He made the first modern trampoline in his garage to reproduce this on a smaller scale and used it to help with his diving and tumbling activities. He formed a company to build trampolines for sale and used a variant of the Spanish word trampolin (diving board) as a trademark. He used the trampoline to entertain audiences and also let them participate in his demonstrations as part of his marketing strategy. Thus were the beginnings of a new sport.
The nature of the activity is natural, easy and rhythmical, and the power of the bed enables participants to have fun and excitement by jumping higher than they would normally be able and to perform many skills landing on the feet, seat, front and back and also to take off from those varied landing positions.
In the USA, trampolining was quickly introduced into school physical education programmes and was also used in private entertainment centres. However, following a number of injuries and law suits caused by insufficient supervision and inadequate training, trampolining is now mostly conducted in specialist gyms with certified trainers. There are also many privately owned backyard trampolines which are the source of most trampolining injuries. Elsewhere in the world the sport was most strongly adopted in Europe and former Soviet Union. Since trampolining became an Olympic sport in 2000, many more countries have started developing programs and China is already producing very competitive athletes.
The first individual trampolining competitions were held in colleges and schools in the USA and then in Europe, with the first World Championships being held in London in 1964. Kurt Baechler of Switzerland and Ted Blake of England were the European pioneers and the first ever televised National Championships were in England in 1958. At first there was no generally accepted format for trampoline competitions but this became standardized as the sport became more organized and international with the setting up of the International Trampoline Federation.
Soon after the first World Championships, the inaugural meeting of prominent trampolinists was held in Frankfurt to explore the formation of an International Trampoline Federation. In 1965 in Twickenham, the Federation was formally recognised as the International Governing Body for the sport. In 1969 the first European Championship was held in Paris and Paul Luxon of London was the winner at the age of 18. The ladies winner was Ute Czech from Germany. From that time onwards, European and World Championships have taken place in alternate years - the European in the odd and the World in the even.
At first the Americans dominated the World Championships, but due to many law suits over trampolining, trampolining was no longer allowed in most educational institutions and the high level of participation and performance by Americans went down. The Europeans began to dominate the sport and for a number of years, athletes from the former Soviet Union have almost completely dominated the sport. Germany, France have been the other strong nations in trampolining and the first four ranking places in World Trampolining used to go to USSR, France, Britain and Germany. In recent years, Canada has also produced Olympic medalists and World champions due in large part to contributions made to the sport by Dave Ross. Ross pioneered the sport in Canada almost 30 years ago and consistently produces Olympic and World Cup athletes.
Format of Competitions
The International Trampolining Federation became part of the Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique in 1999. FIG is now the international governing body for the sport. International competitions are run under the rules of FIG. Individual national gymnastics organizations can make local variations to the rules in matters such as the compulsory and optional routines and number of rounds for national and local competitions.
The currently accepted basic format for individual trampoline competitions usually consists of two or three routines, one of which may involve a compulsory set of skills. The skills consist of various combinations of somersaults and twists performed in various body positions such as the tuck, pike or straight position.
The routines are performed on a standard 14 foot by 7 foot regulation sized trampoline with a central marker. Each routine consists of the athlete performing ten different skills. The routine is marked out of 10 by five judges with deductions for incomplete moves, moving too far from the centre mark or poor form. Usually the highest and lowest scores are discarded. Additional points can be added depending on the difficulty of the skills being performed. The degree of difficulty (DD or tariff) is calculated by adding a factor for each quarter turn or somersault. The highest DD usually attempted in competitions is about 16.5. However in 2004 Jason Burnett from Skyriders Trampoline Place in Canada completed a routine with a DD of 18.5. Here is a video of the routine.
In synchronized trampolining, two athletes perform exactly the same routine of ten skills at the same time on two adjacent trampolines. Each athlete is scored separately for their form in the same manner as for individual competitions. Extra judges score the pair for synchronicity and degree of difficulty.
A double mini-trampoline is smaller than a regulation competition trampoline. It has a sloped end and a flat bed. The athletes run up and hurdle on to the sloping end and then jump on to the flat part before dismounting on to a mat. Skills are performed during the jumps or as they dismount.
A double mini-trampoline competition consists of two types of pass. In one, the athlete performs one skill in the jump from the sloping end to the flat bed and a second skill as they dismount from the flat bed to the landing mat. In the second, the athlete does a straight jump from the sloping end to the flat bed to gain height, performs one skill landing back on the flat bed and then a second skill as they dismount. These skills are similar to those performed on a regular trampoline except that there is movement laterally along the trampoline.
The form and difficulty are judged in a similar manner as for trampolining but there are additional deductions for failing to land cleanly or landing outside a designated area on the mat.
- Original material extracted from Bounce 2000 information booklet: David Allen, Brisbane, Queensland Australia.
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