Trampoline and tumbling includes four events within its program — trampoline, power tumbling, synchronized trampoline and double mini-trampoline. Both men and women participate in all four events. Some gymnasts choose to focus on just one area, while others participate in all four events. The first trampoline World Championships event was held in 1964, and trampoline was first recognized as a sport in its own right in the U.S. in 1967. Trampoline made its Olympic debut at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia.
As a sport, trampoline varies greatly from recreational bouncing. International competition trampolines are larger and more powerful than traditional “backyard” models, propelling trained athletes as high as 30 feet in the air during performances. During two competitive routines of 10 skills each, upper-level athletes can easily demonstrate a graceful array of double, triple and twisting somersaults.
Power tumbling is performed on elevated runways, generally designed with fiberglass rods underneath, that help tumblers propel themselves higher than a basketball goal as they demonstrate speed, strength and skill while executing a series of acrobatic maneuvers. Explosive somersaults with multiple flips and twists are performed by the top-level contenders.
Synchronized trampoline demands the same athletic skill as individual trampoline, while adding the element of precision timing. Using two trampolines, side-by-side, two athletes perform identical 10-skill routines at the same time. In this most artistic event in the sport, each performs as a mirror image of the other, doubling the visual beauty of trampoline competition.
Double mini-trampoline combines the horizontal run of tumbling with the vertical rebound of trampoline. After a short run, the athlete jumps onto a small two-level trampoline to perform a rebounding trick immediately followed by a dismount element onto a landing mat. Double mini-trampoline is similar in concept to springboard diving, using a mat instead of water.