Trampoline Gymnastics

Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images
Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

Trampoline is one of the three disciplines in the sport of gymnastics. The others are artistic gymnastics and rhythmic gymnastics. With athletes springing to heights of up to 8m, trampoline is among the Games' most enthralling spectacles.

Tokyo 2020 competition animation "One Minute, One Sport"

We will show you the rules and highlights of trampoline in one minute. Whether you are familiar with trampoline or want to know more about it, "One Minute, One Sport" explains the sport and how it works. Watch the video below.

One Minute, One Sport | Trampoline
01:23

Overview

Trampoline gymnasts perform a series of short routines containing a variety of twists, bounces and somersaults. Precise technique and perfect body control are vital for success, with judges delivering marks for difficulty, execution, flight time and horizontal displacement.

In 1934, an American gymnast named George Nissen was inspired by watching circus acrobats fall onto flexible safety nets and use the rebound to perform acrobatic skills. He constructed the first prototype trampoline from canvas and rubber used for inner tubes. Nissen named his device after ‘trampolin’, the Spanish word for springboard.

The trampoline itself consists of a rectangular ‘bed’ made from a woven synthetic fabric and measuring 4.28m x 2.14m. The bed is attached to a frame with steel springs so that its recoil action propels performers high into the air.

Initially used as a training tool for astronauts, pilots and other sports, the trampoline grew in popularity to such an extent that the first ever World Championships were held in London in 1964. The discipline was added to the Olympic programme at Sydney 2000 and features men's and women's individual competitions.

Olympic qualification is based on results achieved at the World Championships in the year preceding the Games and the Olympic test event. In total, 16 men and 16 women take part.

Event Programme

  • Individual competition (Men/Women)

Essence of the sport

A blend of athleticism and accuracy

In Olympic Trampoline, athletes perform two routines, one compulsory and one voluntary, in a qualification round. Each routine consists of ten skills. In the compulsory routine, athletes perform eight skills that are judged only on execution and two skills — chosen by the gymnast — that are evaluated on both execution and difficulty. Since Rio 2016, the code of points has been changed and the "Horizontal Displacement" score has been introduced.

In the voluntary routine all ten skills are judged on both execution and difficulty. A third component of the total score is ‘time of flight’, which is a measure of actual time spent in the air. This is added to the difficulty and execution scores for both routines.

The eight highest-scoring competitors advance to the final. Scores from the qualifying round do not carry over to the final, which consists of only a voluntary routine marked on difficulty, execution and time of flight. Although the athletes with the lowest scores in qualifying perform first, they still have every chance of achieving victory.

There are three basic airborne positions for jumps and somersaults: the tuck, the pike and the layout or straight. Performers add rotations and twists to earn a higher difficulty score. Look out for dynamic leaps several metres above the bed, combined with the skill and precision to land consistently in a central area of the trampoline called the jumping zone. A red cross on the bed serves as a visual guide and enables the athletes to make corrections to their body position.

Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images
Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Outlook for the Tokyo 2020 Games

Reaching the heights of success

The first two Olympic champions were the Russian athletes Alexander Moskalenko and Irina Karavaeva, who won the men's and women's gold medals respectively at Sydney 2000.

The People's Republic of China and Canada have proved to be the most dominant nations in the five editions of the Games in which trampoline has featured. The People's Republic of China have won 10 of the 18 medals available at the past three Olympic Games.

China's Dong Dong won the bronze medal in men's Trampoline at Beijing 2008 before going on to take gold at London 2012 and silver in the Rio 2016 competition — the last of these being won by Uladzislau Hancharou from Belarus.

In the women's event, Canada's Rosie MacLennan won back-to-back gold medals at London 2012 and Rio 2016. She is the first Canadian in an individual sport at the Summer Olympic Games and the first trampolinist, male or female, to defend her Olympic title.

At Tokyo 2020, which athletes will best combine perfect form, daring moves and superior flight time to stand on top of the podium?

Trivia