Olympic Athletes and their Trampolines

By: Timothy Hudson

Trampolines are splendid devices that have become tantamount to fun. Lots of properties have trampolines which little ones use to bounce high up in the air. Even grownups find jumping on trampolines thrilling and exciting.

But are you aware that trampolines are not just used as recreational devices? They are also utilized in professional competition. In fact, trampolining is now an official Olympic sport since the year 2000. Competitors perform breathtaking stunts while bouncing up and down on a trampoline. The audience widen their eyes as skilled gymnast jump, somersault, tuck, twist, and do complex moves while airborne.

At present, the Federation Internationale de Gymnastique, FIG, in short, is the governing organization of the sport, which means that international competitions are run under the rules of FIG. National or local organizations, while still covered by the FIG, can make alterations with the regulations like compulsory and optional rules or the number of rounds for the competition.

Traditionally, the accepted FIG format comprises two or three routines, one of which involves a display of a required set of skills. These compulsory skills consist of a variety of combinations of shaped bounces, twists, somersaults, and body landings performed in a number of body positions such as straight, tuck, or pike.

According to FIG rules, these routines are made in a standard 14-by-7-foot regulation-sized trampoline with a central marker. Beginning the routine in a standing position, an athlete may do 10 different skills then end the performance on his feet. Five judges score the routine, subtracting scores for unfinished moves, poor form, or straying too far from the middle mark. Points are rewarded for exemplary form, perfect execution, and the correct execution of an especially hard move. The degree of difficulty is determined by adding a factor for every successful half turn, half twist, or quarter somersault. In 2010, an extra score category called Time of Flight is added in senior level competitions. Basically, gymnasts who can achieve and maintain greater height in their routines are rewarded with Time of Flight points.

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

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