Olympic Preview: Trampoline

Updated February 21, 2017 | Factmonster Staff

First Olympic Appearance: 2000

by John Gettings and Mark Zurlo

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Did You Know?
The trampoline bed, which is usually made of a nylon or string material, is only six millimeters thick.


The prototype for today's trampoline was introduced in the 1930s and it quickly became an invaluable tool for entertainers. It gained popularity in 1950s and 60s and the first world championship competition was held in 1964.

The trampoline is the third division of the gymnastics competition, following artistic and rhythmic. There will be no team competition in Athens, just individual. Both the men's and women's competition will involve 16 gymnasts who will compete in a qualifying round and final round on one day for men, one for women.

Gymnasts will be scored on a compulsory routine, which features predetermined maneuvers done in a specific order, and an optional routine, featuring skills picked by each competitor. Each routine must include the following:

  • One landing on either the front or back of the body.
  • A single or double somersault, or something in between, with at least a 540-degree twist.
  • A forward or backward double somersault, with or without a twist.
  • A forward or backward double somersault, including at least a full twist.

Seven judges score competitors on the technical merit of the routine while factoring in the moves' degree of difficulty. The scoring is similar to the other well-known gymnastics events, with the best score possible being a perfect 10.

And like figure skating—with its salchows and lutz jumps—the trampoline has its own language. Here are the definitions of some popular moves you'll hear commentators talking about. (Honestly, we're not making this stuff up.)

Liffis - a double somersault with a twist.
Triffis - a triple somersault with a twist.
Randolphs - a forward somersault with 2 1/2 twists.
Rudolphs - a forward somersault with 1 1/2 twists.
Baranis - a forward somersault with a half twist.

The trampoline competition in Beijing will be held from August 16 to 19 at the National Indoor Stadium.

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