Download the latest newsletter



A sport: from the Circus to the Olympics

The origins of the sport of trampolining are widely acknowledged to be found in the circus as part of the safety equipment for trapeze acts but it was an American gymnast, George Nissen, who first used a trampoline as a gymnastics training aid and then developed it into a sport in its own right. It became very popular in the 1940s in the US and quickly spread to the rest of the world, in particular to Europe.

In 1956 George Nissen set up a manufacturing plant for trampolines in Essex and in 1963 the British Trampoline Federation was set up as the sport’s governing body in Great Britain.

There have been 31 Trampoline World Championships held since 1964, when the first event was held in London. Since then Great Britain has produced 3 world individual champions - Stuart Matthews, Carl Furrer and Sue Shotton. The next Championships will be held in Sofia, Bulgaria in November 2017. Great Britain is ranked 7th in the world for medals at these Championships.

In the year 2000 trampolining became a full participating Olympic sport at the Sydney games in Australia. Bryony Page from Cheshire won GB’s first medal in trampolining when she took home the silver medal from the Rio games in 2016. Kat Driscoll was placed 6th.

Today trampolining comes under the umbrella of the British Gymnastics governing body and has hundreds of recreational and competitive clubs across the country.