Olympic Athletes and their Trampolines

By: Timothy Hudson

Trampolines are wonderful apparatuses that have become synonymous to fun. A lot of properties have trampolines which kids use to launch themselves high up in the air. Even adults find jumping on trampolines thrilling and exciting.

But do you know that trampolines are not just used as recreational devices? They are also utilized in competitive sports. In fact, trampolining is considered an official Olympic sport since the year 2000. Gymnasts perform heart-pounding acrobatics while jumping on a trampoline. Spectators hold their breath as skilled gymnast jump, somersault, tuck, twist, and do complex moves while airborne.

At present, the Federation Internationale de Gymnastique, or FIG, is the governing body of the trampolining, which means that international competitions are run under the rules of FIG. National or local organizations, while still covered by the FIG, can make variations with the rules such as obligatory and optional rules or the number of rounds for the competition.

In general, the accepted FIG format comprises two or three routines, one of which involves a show of a compulsory package of skills. These compulsory skills is composed of different combinations of shaped bounces, twists, somersaults, and body landings performed in a variety of body positions such as straight, tuck, or pike.

As per FIG rules, these routines are done on a standard 14-by-7-foot regulation-sized trampoline with a middle marker. Starting on his feet, an athlete may do 10 different skills then conclude the performance on his feet. Five judges determine the points of the routine, subtracting scores for unfinished moves, bad form, or moving too far from the middle mark. Points are rewarded for good form, faultless execution, and the right execution of an especially difficult move. The difficulty degree is determined by adding a factor for every successful half turn, half twist, or quarter somersault. In 2010, an additional score category called Time of Flight is added in senior level tournaments. Basically, athletes who can achieve and maintain greater height in their routines are rewarded with Time of Flight points.

If you have ever wished of becoming a skilled gymnast and competing in the Olympics, put up a trampoline in your property where you can begin to hone your abilities.

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