The 2012 London Summer Olympics begin July 27 with the opening ceremonies. From there, the city will showcase 16 days of the best athletic competition in the world. One such event is the trampoline, which takes place Aug. 3 and Aug. 4. It is the newest of the three gymnastics events to be approved for Olympic competition.
An element is part of an overall routine that a trampoline gymnast must perform. There is one routine for the 16 finalists, and they must perform a minimum of 10 elements to get the best possible score.
The difficulty is a way for judges to determine the score for a gymnast. If a move is considered to be of a higher difficulty, the trampoline competitor earns more points for landing the maneuver properly.
Double Mini Trampoline
As gymnasts fly through the air, they land and ascend on two trampolines next each other. Collectively, they are called double mini trampolines (DMTs). The trampolines themselves are 15 feet long, 9 feet wide, and less than half an inch thick.
A twist is a maneuver whereby the gymnast twirls his or her body from head to foot. Trickier moves will involve more twists as the person flies through the air.
A somersault happens when the gymnast tumbles head over feet through the air. Unlike a twist, a somersault goes forward and backward. Combining a somersault with a twist is even more difficult than each move individually.
A barani is a move whereby the gymnast performs a forward somersault with a half twist. Instead of landing in the same forward-facing like a normal somersault, the gymnast lands facing in the opposite direction because he or she twists halfway.
A cat leap occurs when a gymnast takes off from one foot. The person raises one knee and then the other to perform the move.
A fliffis is a double somersault with a twist. The gymnast turns over twice in the air while twisting his or her body once all the way around to land in the same position he or she left.
A quadriffis consists of four somersaults with a twist. The trick is to complete just one twist while in the air performing four somersaults. The move is extremely difficult as the timing must be perfect.
The randolph, or "randy" for short, is a move that involves a front somersault with two and a half twists.
William Browning has been a fan of Olympic gymnastics since the glory days of Kim Zmeskal and Shannon Miller.