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The History of the Trampoline
The idea of using fabric to bounce people in the air has been around long before the modern trampoline was invented. The Inuit people were one of the first to use pieces of walrus skin to throw people into the air. The trampoline itself is rumored to be invented by a circus performer named Du Trampolin who came up with the idea of using the trapeze net in order to bounce high into the air. No one knows if this story is true, but it is known that circus performers did use small versions of trapeze nets in order to make more lively stunts.
In 1934, two men named George Nissen and Larry Griswold expanded on the original design of the trampoline, using a piece of canvas which was attached to a frame by coiled springs. They decided on the word “trampoline,” using an English version of the Spanish word “trampolin” which means diving board.
The two started their own company, The Griswold-Nissen Trampoline and Tumbling Company, and began manufacturing and selling trampolines throughout the United States. Although Nissen and Griswold had envisioned their trampolines being used for gymnastics, the use of trampolines began to spread to other avenues as well. Soon, the United States Navy Flight School began using the trampoline to train pilots during World War II. Trampolines were also used to train American and Soviet astronauts during the early years of the space program.
In 2000, the Olympics recognized trampolining as an official Olympic event. Trampolining is a sport where gymnasts perform acrobatic stunts while bouncing on a trampoline. There are two other sports which feature the use of trampolines, Slamball and Bossaball. Slamball is based loosely around basketball and has no official rulebook. Rules are often discussed prior to the match. Bossaball is similar to volleyball and includes a net that is hung above the trampoline. Both sports have seen relatively popularity in recent years.
However, most trampolines are used by individuals in their homes. Trampolines can vary greatly in size. Jumping on a trampoline can be great exercise for children and adults alike. Many homes now feature large trampolines in the backyard for children to play on. Small trampolines which are low to the ground are often used in physical training programs. The trampoline allows an individual to run or jump without having the hard impact on their knees or ankles. For this reason, trampolines are also used quite often in physical therapy programs.
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