There are two related competitive rebound 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. These 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 programs 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. This has caused a large reduction in the number of competitive athletes in the United States and a consequent decline from the earlier American prominence in the sport. 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 Japan and China are already producing very competitive athletes.
A routine must always start and finish on feet.
In competitions, moves must usually be performed in one of the following 3 basic shapes:
A fourth 'shape', known as 'puck' because it appears to be a hybrid of pike and tuck, is often used in multiple twisting somersaults - it is typically used in place of a 'tuck' and in competition would normally be judged as an open tuck shape.
A straddle, or straddled pike is a variant of a pike with arms and legs spread wide and is only recognised as a move as a shaped jump and not in any somersault moves.
Rotation is performed about the body's longitudinal and lateral axes, producing twists and somersaults respectively. Twists are done in multiples of a half, and somersaults in multiples of a quarter. For example, a barani ball out move consists of a take-off from the back followed by a tucked 1¼ front somersault combined with a ½ twist, to land on feet. Rotation around the dorso-ventral axis is also possible (producing side-somersaults and turntables), but these are not generally considered to be valid moves within competitions and carry no 'tariff' for difficulty.
Soon after the first World Championships, an 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. In 1973 Ted Blake organised the first World Age Group Competition (WAG) in the newly opened Picketts Lock Sports Centre; these now run alongside the World Championships. Blake also used the first WAG as an opportunity to organise a World Trampoline Safety Conference which was held in the Bloomsbury Hotel, London, in order to codify safety concerns. There is also a World Cup circuit of international competitions which involves three competitions every year. There are also international matches between teams from several countries.
At first the Americans were successful at World Championship level, but soon European competitors began to dominate the sport and for a number of years, athletes from countries that made up the former Soviet Union have often dominated the sport. Germany and 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. Since trampolining became an Olympic sport, China has made a successful effort to develop world-class trampolinists, culminating by winning the 2007 Men's World Championship and both Men's and Women's gold medals and a bronze in the 2008 Olympic Games held in Beijing.
The International Trampolining Federation became part of the Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique in 1999. FIG is now the international governing body for the sport which is paired with Power tumbling as the skill sets overlap. 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.
As part of the agreement to merge FIT with FIG, individual trampolining was accepted into the Summer Olympic Games for 2000 as an additional gymnastic sport.
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 starting and finishing on the feet. 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 half turn (or twist) or quarter somersault. Difficulty is important in a routine, however, there are differences in opinion between various coaches whether it is better to focus on increasing the difficulty of routines given that this usually results in a reduced form score or to focus on improving execution scores by displaying better form in an easier routine.
The official world record DD for men at a FIG sanctioned event is 17.50 which was achieved by Jason Burnett of Canada on April 2 2007 at the Lake Placid, New York Trampoline World Cup Burnett beat the twenty year old record of 17.00 by Igor Gelimbatovsky (USSR - 1986) and Daniel Neale (GBR - 1999). The top competitors usually perform routines with a DD of 16.5 or greater. In 2004 Jason Burnett completed a training routine with a DD of 18.50 at Skyriders Trampoline Place in Canada. The women's world record DD is 15.30 by Irina Karavaeva (RUS). The top women competitors usually compete routines with a DD greater than 14.50. The women's synchronised trampoline pair of Karen Cockburn and Rosannagh Maclennan also of Canada completed a new world record DD of 14.20 at the same April 2 2007 Lake Placid World Cup.
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 by a pair of judges for their form in the same manner as for individual competitions. Additional judges score the pair for synchronization. Fewer points are deducted for lack of synchronization if the pair are bouncing at the same height at the same time. The degree of difficulty of the routine is determined in the same way as for individual trampoline routines and the points added to the score.
A double mini-trampoline is smaller than a regulation competition trampoline. It has a sloped end and a flat bed. The gymnasts run up and jump 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.
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