Trampolining is a fairly modern sport, only being recognised in the Olympic Games since 2000. However, trampolines and athletes who train on trampolines have been around for a lot longer. If you’re interested in the history of trampolining and how it has become so popular with all ages, read on for some fun facts.
Tracing trampolines to the 1930s
It is said that the inspiration for the trampoline came from the circus trapeze act, using the net as a landing device. The first trampoline was built at the University of Iowa in 1934 by George Nissen and Larry Griswold. The man-made device was developed with space travel in mind – it was intended to train astronauts and allowed people to practice tumbling. From here it was then used as a training tool for other sports, such as diving and gymnastics because it offered a safe landing.
Sports and ball games
The inventors of the trampoline continued to make up uses for the springy device rather than seeing trampolining as a sport in its own right. They thought of lots of new games involving trampolines, one which was called Spaceball. Two teams played on a trampoline with walls at each end, and players had to hit a target on the other team’s wall.
Of course, the potential for trampolines to improve ball games still exists. Ball games and team games such as basketball and dodgeball are now played at trampoline parks, adding height and a new exhilarating rush to the sports.
Growth of trampolining
When athletes and other individuals tried out the trampoline, they enjoyed the sensation of bouncing up and down. People started using trampolines just for fun, rather than training for other sports and practicing tumbles. From here trampolining became an activity and a sport in its own right, using acrobatic skills and tricks to increase the level of difficulty.
Various competitions were held in the USA and Europe, with the first World Trampolining Championships held in London in 1964. The International Trampolining Federation was also born in the 1960s, propelling the sport even further. However, it took a lot longer for the sport to be recognised in the Olympic Games. Its first appearance was in the 2000 Games in Sydney, with two events. The men’s and women’s events have continued since then and we hope to see more development of trampoline athletes in the future.