What’s the deal?
Take a bouncy house or a trampoline park and ratchet up the bouncy to 11. Then add in a routine where athletes flip and twist around, and you have a jaw-dropping sport.
Competitors do two routines of 10 elements–one element per bounce–a compulsory round and a “voluntary” round that they choreograph themselves. They get a little time at the beginning to just bounce and get to the right height to be able to do them, and then at the end, they need to stick the landing with both feet.
Elements are in one of three categories:
- Straight – Body is completely straight
- Pike – Body is bent in a forward fold
- Tuck – Upper body and knees are both bent toward the chest
Judges score the routines on difficulty and execution of the elements, as well as the amount of time competitors are in the air.
Men and women have individual competitions.
Why should I watch?
Here’s one of the Olympics’ best kept secrets. It’s massive hang time plus highly difficult acrobatics that trampolinists manage to do–and still land on the tramponline. This, friends, is something you wished you’d gotten into when you were a kid (though take a visit to a trampoline park sometime–you might not wipe the smile off your face).
Anyway, one of the reasons you might not think to watch this sport is because it’s only on for two days (it and marathon swimming are the shortest events in the Olympics). Another reason is because trampolines were used to train astronauts, and there are many people cooler than astronauts. Set your DVRs for August 12 and 13 so you don’t miss it!
Potential drinking game:
If anyone doesn’t land an element on the actual trampoline, drink.
The perfect snack:
The International Federation of Gymnastics (FIG) is the governing body for the sport and has some history, rules and other general information. Check your local NOC or even local gymnastics club to learn how to get started.
Trampoline requires judges to determine who’s the best. Judges work their way up through the national committee to get to the Olympics. The USA’s site is just one example of what to look for when finding out how to get involved in the sport this way.