11 Trampoline Facts that’ll Knock Your Jump Socks Off
From the circus to the depths of outer space, the trampoline tends to pop up in some totally unexpected and oh so very cool places. Today, we’re hitting you with 11 astounding trampoline facts that’ll blow you out of your jump socks (which is totally safe on a trampoline, assuming you emptied your pockets per our safety rules! You don’t want to land on a pen the wrong way).
Trampoline parks like Altitude are only the most recent of many exciting chapters in trampoline history. From the fun to the fascinating, to the totally insane, these 11 facts take some pretty surprising turns.
Well, not quite a trampoline. There was a version of trampolining invented by the Inuits where they would stretch a walrus skin in a circle, with one person in the middle, and then catapult them into the air by tightening the skin quickly, then catching the person, and so on.
The Inventor and His Kangaroo
American acrobat George Nissan invented the trampoline in 1936, inspired by the net that would catch trapeze artists in the circus (the nets would literally launch acrobats back into the air for the dismount. He created the trampoline in his garage, and started to market trampolines first for training, and eventually, also for fun.
He famously used a kangaroo on his trampoline as a marketing tactic, timing his jumps with kangaroos simultaneously on his invention. The Kangaroo’s name was Victoria.
Trampoline Material is Not Elastic!
Wha?! You read that correctly. Only the springs pulling the trampoline bed taught are elastic. The actual bed itself is made from bands of woven nylon.
NASA uses the trampoline in several ways to prepare astronauts for spaceflight and help them recover. In addition to the usual health benefits, trampolining is perfect prep for all of the bouncing around that occurs moment-to-moment during space travel, because it trains you to control your center of gravity.
Then, when astronauts return from space, trampolines are a great way to rehabilitate them by helping them rebuild their bone mass and strengthen their joints in a low-impact routine.
Trampoline in the Olympics
Since the year 2000, trampolining has officially become a bonafide Olympic event for men and women! Olympic trampoline jumpers can reach dizzying heights up to 33 feet (8 meters) in the air while performing tricks and twists that would make your spin… many many times in a row.
Athletes must perform a predetermined routine of several tricks one after the other, as well as an optional routine of 10 recognized skills. Athletes must begin and end routines on their feet and athletes are judged for their height as well as for their tricks.
As a fun cherry on top, inventor George Nissan attended the very first Olympic trampoline event. After the event was over, George, moved by what he had witnessed, told reporters “It is something I dreamt, like people winning a million dollars.”
Crazy World Records
Throughout trampolining history as a sport and phenomenon, there have been some pretty amazing records set through the years. We won’t run through them all (world record lists tend to get out of hand), but here are a few of our favorites:
Most People on a Trampoline at Once: in 2015 in the United Kingdom, 324 people mounted an enormous trampoline!
Most Consecutive Somersaults (Read Flips!): Ready for it… 3333. Did they realize that one more flip would have ruined that perfect number of repeating 3’s?
Most Backflips in a Minute: 49! That’s almost one flip a second (what does that do to your stomach!)
Most Consecutive Backflips… While on a Unicycle: Only two! Think you can land three?
In 1986, American President Ronald Reagan personally called to congratulate 6 of his fraternity brothers from Cleveland State University pulling off amazing 53 straight days of trampoline jumping! How that phone call went, we have no idea, but boy oh boy would we love to know.
Other Odd Training Uses
Trampolines are used in all sorts of unexpected training. Divers practice their ability to target a landing spot by trampolining and freestyle skiers practice moves and tune up their balance on trampolines.
Even cooler, during WW2, during World War II, the US military used trampolines in Flight School to train pilots in developing their sense of mid-air spatial orientation and concentration.
The Word Trampoline is Spanish
Kind of. The word Trampoline is at least derived from the Spanish word Trampolin, which means springboard. There is an urban myth circulating saying that trampolines were invented by a French circus performer whose last was Du Trampolin, but this myth has largely been debunked.
The Mineshaft Full of Trampolines
While here at Altitude, we know our trampoline parks, so we have to tip our hat to this INSANE phenomenon. An old mining town in Wales called Blaenau Ffestiniog converted it’s massive empty mining caverns into a jaw-dropping underground trampoline park.
We’re talking basically a whole subterranean cave system of trampolines, winding through tunnels as well as up and downhill! What?! Up to 1500 people bounce below ground in this mad Welsh phenomenon each week.
Altitude Has the Biggest Park in America
Altitude Trampoline Park is the biggest park in America! That’s a lot of jumping space.