First Olympic Appearance: 2000
by John Gettings and Mark Zurlo
Did You Know?
The trampoline bed, which is usually made of a nylon or string material, is only six millimeters thick.
The prototype for today's trampoline was introduced in the 1930s and it quickly became an invaluable tool for entertainers. It gained popularity in 1950s and 60s and the first world championship competition was held in 1964.
The trampoline is the third division of the gymnastics competition, following artistic and rhythmic. There will be no team competition in Athens, just individual. Both the men's and women's competition will involve 16 gymnasts who will compete in a qualifying round and final round on one day for men, one for women.
Gymnasts will be scored on a compulsory routine, which features predetermined maneuvers done in a specific order, and an optional routine, featuring skills picked by each competitor. Each routine must include the following:
- One landing on either the front or back of the body.
- A single or double somersault, or something in between, with at least a 540-degree twist.
- A forward or backward double somersault, with or without a twist.
- A forward or backward double somersault, including at least a full twist.
Seven judges score competitors on the technical merit of the routine while factoring in the moves' degree of difficulty. The scoring is similar to the other well-known gymnastics events, with the best score possible being a perfect 10.
And like figure skating?with its salchows and lutz jumps?the trampoline has its own language. Here are the definitions of some popular moves you'll hear commentators talking about. (Honestly, we're not making this stuff up.)
- Liffis - a double somersault with a twist.
- Triffis - a triple somersault with a twist.
- Randolphs - a forward somersault with 2 1/2 twists.
- Rudolphs - a forward somersault with 1 1/2 twists.
- Baranis - a forward somersault with a half twist.
The trampoline competition in London will be held in the North Greenwich Arena, a multi-purpose music, sports and entertainment venue poised on the banks of the River Thames.