How Trampolining Can Be A Fun But Serious Sport

Sunday, November 4, 2012
The sports of trampolining and tumbling are as old as man, a reflection of man's desire to defy the ever-pervading presence of gravity.

A number of cultures have devised apparatus to send an athlete into the air, i.e., an outstretched animal skin being used to throw up, and safely receive, the descending performer. Circuses have used a number of devices to show off aerial and floor somersault activity.

The way these activities are now practiced reflect the intrusion, delightful in this instance, of modern technology. Modern trampolining has only emerged in the last 40-50 years from the prototype apparatus built by George Nissen back in his garage in 1936.

The Air Force, and later the Space Agencies were not slow to employ trampolines with their pilots and astronauts. Medical authorities and those working with handicapped persons have found many exciting benefits from being able to use a trampoline. At the recreational level, trampolining has an immediate appeal, especially for the young people.

Every era produces at least one step forward in the sophistication of a trampoline machine used. The most modern ones are capable of projecting an athlete to such a height that the top stars can touch 10m-high ceilings and perform repetition triple somersaults with ease.

Competitive activity commenced in the US at the conclusion of World War II. The activity spread to Europe in the 1950's and display teams took the activity to all continents in the late 1950's and early 1960's, when many national federations were formed.

In 1964, the International Trampoline Federation (FIT) was formed with seven founder member federations. This number has since swollen to 42.

Championship activity has developed and grown continuously year after year. Annual World Championships were held from 1964, though since 1968, they have been held every other year, with European Championships, started in 1969, and Pan Pacific Championships in 1981, occurring the alternative years.

European Youth Championships have been held every other year since 1972, and the introduction of the World Cup event in 1993 has seen a tremendous interest in the sport, with the television companies giving live coverage to most events throughout the 1993-94 series. Trampolining and Tumbling have been World Games sports since 1981.