Essex To Have Olympic Trampolining Centre

Jason Burnett, Olympic trampoline
Jason Burnett, Olympic trampoline

Trampolining is coming home to Brentwood with a new state of the art £750,000 centre to be built in time to host the Olympic Games in 2012. Few people are aware that Brentwood is the home of trampolining in the UK. An American inventor and businessman, George Nissen, brought trampolining to Brentwood in 1949 where he distributed his American trampolines to the UK market. Nissen was inspired to build a trampoline after watching trapeze artistes perform tricks when bouncing off the safety net.

Trampolining is a relatively new Olympic event, first appearing in the Sydney Games in 2000. In the sport gymnasts perform complex acrobatic jumps, which are rated by a panel of judges. Jumps include the pike, tuck, and straddle and are combined with various somersaults. For a while trampolining was part of schools physical education programs, but injuries caused by poor tuition and lack of adequate safety led it to being taken off the curriculum.

Before becoming an Olympic sport trampolining was used by pilots during the Second World War and is still used by astronauts today to learn how to control the body while in free fall. NASA also believe that trampoline is one of the healthiest ways to get fit.

The centre will form part of the Brentwood based Recoil Trampolining Club, which is run by Tricia Johnston. The centre will have 13 full size trampolines, 4 of which will be for disabled users. Fundraising for the project is still underway. Currently £280,000 has been raised from Essex County Council, the Brentwood Borough Council’s legacy fund and club members, but an additional £100,000 needs to be raised before Gymnastics England agrees to pay the remaining £370,000.

“A facility like this will enable to cater for all sorts of people from professionals to special needs. It is a great way to get greater participation in sport.”

Photo by ojbyrne

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