Both Laura Gallagher and Andrew Stamp have been bouncing with joy following their French Masters Open success. The likeable Team GB trampoline gymnasts have been hitting new highs in the sport for a while now.
So it was no surprise to see Laura take the women’s title with a total of 53.765 marks. This, having qualified for the final in second place. Andrew clearly took charge of the qualifications in the 15 to 17 year’s group. And it was glory all the way as he went on to win the final with a score of 56.730.
And we mustn’t forget the talented Corey Walkes of course who finished in 16th place in his own category. The whole event proved to be an exciting and sociable competition, thanks to the commitment and ethos of all those gymnasts, clubs and coaches who took part.
Trampolining is Terrific
In terms of gymnastics, trampolining is one of the most thrilling categories, and one of the most fascinating for those looking to take up the sport. How many children have enjoyed playing on a small compact trampoline in their own back garden?
It was George Nissen who, in the 1930’s watched trapeze artists performing tricks when bouncing off a safety net. He constructed the first modern trampoline in his garage to reproduce this on a smaller scale and enjoy his diving and tumbling activities.
George created a company to build trampolines for sale and used a variant of the Spanish word trampoline (diving board) as a trademark. He’d enthral onlookers inviting them to participate in his demonstrations as part of his marketing strategy. It was, of course, the beginnings of a new sport.
Bouncing All Over The World!
It wasn’t long before trampolining became commonplace in American schools as part of physical education programmes. The sport declined there however largely because of inadequate training, but elsewhere in the world, the sport was most strongly adopted in Europe and the former Soviet Union.
Since trampolining became an Olympic sport in 2000. More nations have followed suit with China producing world champion athletes in less than a decade. The International Trampolining Federation became part of the Fédérationn Internationale de Gymnastique in 1999. FIG is now the international governing body for the sport, paired with Tumbling as the skill sets overlap.
International competitions are run under the rules of FIG. Individual national gymnastics organisations can make local variations to the rules in matters such as the compulsory and optional routines, and a number of rounds for national and local competitions.
Pike, Twist, Tuck…
Currently, individual trampoline competitions are made up of two or three routines, one of which may involve a compulsory set of skills. These consist of various combinations of somersaults, shaped bounces, body landings and twists performed in various body positions such as the tuck, pike or straight position.
In each routine, the athlete must perform 10 different skills on a standard 14 foot by seven-foot trampoline complete with a central marker. They must always finish on their feet. The routine is marked out of 10 by five judges with deductions for incomplete moves, moving too far from the centre mark or poor form.
Usually, the highest and lowest scores are discarded. Additional points can be added depending on the difficulty of the skills being performed.
Here in the UK, you can discover a number of clubs specialising in this thrilling sport. All have professional and well-qualified coaches – they are welcoming and openly encourage new members with a taste for adventure. Trampolining is fun and you can go at your very own pace, developing some simple routines as you go.
As for Laura Gallagher and Andrew Stamp? The sky’s the limit!