A trampoline competition is a gymnastic sport performed while bouncing on a trampoline. Competitors use acrobatic moves to gain points from judges in official competition. Moves are performed after bouncing on the trampoline at a height of about 25 ft (about 7.5 m). Trampolining requires athletic strength and body control and has been an Olympic sport since 2000.
A trampoline competition involves backward and forward somersaults, twists, rotations, and a variety of other moves. Take-offs and landings can be performed from the feet, the front of the body, or the back side of the body. Moves in a trampoline competition are performed with many different bodily moves, and involve most body parts.
There are three basic moves in a trampoline competition. A straight move is performed with the entire body straight — legs and neck straight and arms down to the sides. A piked move is performed with the legs and arms both straight out at 90 degree angles to the body — the arms and legs in this move sometimes touch at the hands and feet. A tucked move is performed with the legs and arms both bent—the knees are pulled into the chest and the arms are folded around the legs. This move is comparable to a “cannonball” dive into a pool. These moves are performed with rotations and somersaults of the body at different angles and different degrees of difficulty.
A trampoline competition must be started on the feet and ended on the feet, and 10 touches of the surface of the trampoline are completed in between. Competitions are performed on regulation sized trampolines, and are judged out of three routines. Scores are given in a trampoline competition on a 10 point scale, based on completion of moves, degree of difficulty, and body form. Degree of difficulty is determined by turns added onto the three trampolining moves. One half turn added onto a tuck, for instance, adds one half point. One full somersault, then, would add one full degree of difficulty point.
The trampoline competition was made a popular sport by NCAA gymnastics champion George Nissen. The trampoline sport was invented in 1937. It first became popular in high schools and colleges in the United States. It then moved to Europe and the first World Championship was held in 1964. The sport of trampoline competition became popular internationally in the 1970s and 1980s and began to be dominated in tournaments by Europeans countries and especially countries of the former Soviet Union.