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The History of Competitive Trampolining

We love that trampolining is an Olympic sport, so we thought we’d research the topic of trampoline competition a little, and bring it to our fans and readers!

Here is what we found!

The first individual trampolining competitions were held in colleges and schools in the USA and then in Europe. In the early years of competition there was no defined format with performers often completing lengthy routines and even remounting if falling off partway through. Gradually competitions became more codified such that by the 1950s the 10-bounce routine was the norm thereby paving the way for the first World Championships which were organized by Ted Blake of Nissen, and held in London in 1964. The first World Champions were both American, Dan Millman and Judy Wills Cline ( both pictured to the right together with members of the Household Cavalry at the closing ceremony). Kurt Baechler of Switzerland and Ted Blake of England were the European pioneers and the first ever televised National Championships were held in England in 1958.

Soon after the first World Championships, an inaugural meeting of prominent trampolinists was held in Frankfurt to explore the formation of an International Trampoline Federation. In 1965 in Twickenham, the Federation was formally recognized as the International Governing Body for the sport. In 1969, the first European Championship was held in Paris and Paul Luxon of London was the winner at the age of 18. The ladies winner was Ute Czech from Germany. From that time until 2010, European and World Championships have taken place in alternate years – the European in the odd and the World in the even. Now the World Championships are held annually.

In 1973, Ted Blake organized the first World Age Group Competition (WAG) in the newly opened Picketts Lock Sports Centre; these now run alongside the World Championships. Blake also used the first WAG as an opportunity to organize a World Trampoline Safety Conference which was held in the Bloomsbury Hotel, London, in order to codify safety concerns. There is also a World Cup circuit of international competitions which involves a number of competitions every year. There are also international matches between teams from several countries.

At first the Americans were successful at World Championship level, but soon European competitors began to dominate the sport and for a number of years, athletes from countries that made up the former Soviet Union have often dominated the sport. Germany and France have been the other strong nations in trampolining and the first four ranking places in World Trampolining used to go to USSR, France, Britain and Germany. In recent years, Canada has also produced Olympic medalists and World champions due in large part to contributions made to the sport by Dave Ross. Ross pioneered the sport in Canada almost 30 years ago and consistently produces Olympic and World Cup athletes. Since trampolining became an Olympic sport, China has made a successful effort to develop world-class trampolinists, culminating by winning the 2007 Men’s World Championship and both Men’s and Women’s gold medals and a bronze in the 2008 Olympic Games held in Beijing.

Remember, stay safe and have fun!

Thanks to Wikipedia for the great resource!

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