From the circus tent to the Olympic hall, trampoline has travelled a considerable distance from its 19th Century genesis.

The top competitors in the world are still genuine high-flyers though, reaching heights of up to 10 metres during their routines.

Although it forms part of the gymnastics programme it shares some similarities with diving in terms of the suppleness and skill needed to compete at the top level. The two sports also share the same terminology - back-flips and half-pikes feature in both.

Lee Brearley and Jaime Moore were the first Britons to compete when trampoline made its Olympic debut at the Sydney 2000 Games.

Britain had previously produced world men's champions Paul Luxon (1972) and Stewart Matthews (1980) as well as Sue Shotton, who took the 1988 women's world title.

Why is it good for you?

Gymnastics requires strength, mobility, endurance, flexibility, body control and coordination.

The high level of physical fitness needed to excel helps encourage a healthy lifestyle, including regular physical activity and eating a well-balanced diet.

The wide range of movements involved in trampolining works every muscle in the body and burns approximately 410 calories per hour.

Jumping on the trampoline - or rebounding - has been discovered by NASA scientists to be up to 68% more effective exercise than jogging.

The effort of rebounding develops both upper and body strength without putting undue strain on joints or muscles, thus reducing the risk of injury.

Get involved

Gymnastics is a breathtaking sport featuring a range of disciplines such as artistic, trampoline, acrobatics, aerobics and tumbling. It is enjoyed by an estimated four million people in the United Kingdom.

There are more than 1,600 gymnastic clubs in the country and you can find the one closest to you by using the British Gymnastics club finderexternal-link. You only need to buy your own sports kit as the different apparatus and equipment can be found in clubs.

An extensive range of training programmes for people of all abilities and ages are available in sport centres, gyms, schools, universities and colleges.

British Gymnastics' GymFusion schemeexternal-link has seen over 2000 performers take part in the non-competitive, show style festivals, with 11 events set to set to take place across the UK in the future.

Contact your local British Gymnastics development officerexternal-link to discover information on how you can get started, with the GymMark schemeexternal-link ensuring the highest standards are adhered to throughout the UK.

Further information can be found on the English Gymnastics,external-linkWelsh Gymnastics,external-linkScottish Gymnasticsexternal-link and Gymnastics Northern Irelandexternal-link websites.

More on the British Gymnastics websiteexternal-link

Want to get involved with sport in your local community? Why not Join In ?

'Join In Local Sport'external-link aims to get as many people as possible to turn up and take part in activities at their local sports facilities on 18/19 August, 2012 - the first weekend between the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The aim of the initiative is for every sports club and community group in the UK to put on a special event in a bid to encourage more people to get involved as members, supporters or volunteers.

More than 4,000 local sports clubs will be opening their doors to host events and show people just how they can get involved.

As well as tips on playing sport there will be information on coaching, supporting and how to help out.

Find an eventexternal-link near you.

The competition format at London 2012

  • From Friday 3 August to Saturday 4 August, 32 athletes (16 men, 16 women) will compete at the North Greenwich Arena.
  • Each country is limited to two men and two women.
  • There is one gold medal for men and one for women.
  • In the qualifying round, trampolinists perform a compulsory and optional routine with 10 skills. The first routine has two skills counting for difficulty, with no difficulty limitations set in the following routine.
  • The top eight then proceed to the final where they deliver another routine of 10 different skills. The top three scores in the final win the gold, silver and bronze medals.

More on the London 2012 websiteexternal-link

The rules at London 2012

Judges mark trampolinists on difficulty, execution and flight time during short routines which contain a series of moves such as somersaults and twists. Trampolinists can also lose points for infringements such as landing on the frame of the trampoline or taking too long to start their routine.

The difficulty score starts at 0.0 and increases with every skill performed. The execution score begins at 10.0 and decreases with every error.

Scores from the qualifying round are not carried over into the final. However, the qualifying scores determine the competition order in the final, with the highest scorer going last.

Move names include the Adolph, Barani, Fliffus and Rudolph.

More on the Team GB websiteexternal-link

Ones to watch

Kat Driscoll is Britain's sole representative, but a good one - she topped the world rankings in 2011.

However, she earned that ranking at competitions where the dominant Chinese were absent. She finished last in the final of the World Championships, but fourth in January's test event.

Reigning world and Olympic champion Lu Chunlong of China is the man to beat, with his wonderfully-named compatriot Dong Dong looking to depose him.

China's He Wenna is world and Olympic champion in the women's event. Canada's Rosannagh MacLennan is her biggest threat.


A French tumbler named Du Trampolin had the idea of adapting safety nets used by aerial artists in his act.

This rudimentary trampoline was developed into the modern apparatus we know today during the 1930s by American gymnast George Nissen, who thought it would be a useful training tool for tumblers. It was subsequently used in the training of fighter pilots and astronauts.

Gradually it developed into a sport of its own, initially known as rebound tumbling, which Essex teacher Ted Blake brought to these shores in 1950. Great Britain staged the first World Championships in 1964.

Nissen was present in Sydney in 2000 as trampoline finally became an Olympic sport.

More on the IOC websiteexternal-link

Top Stories