2012 Olympian Steven Gluckstein of Atlantic Highlands, N.J./Elite Trampoline Academy; 2012 Olympic alternate Dakota Earnest of Plains, Texas/Acrospirits; 2013 World double mini-trampoline champion Kristle Lowell of Three Rivers, Mich./Branch Gymnastics; and 2013 World double-mini silver medalist Alex Renkert of Indianapolis/Geist Sports Academy, headline the field of 188 athletes competing in trampoline and tumbling's 2014 U.S. Elite Challenge, scheduled for June 12-15 at the Spokane (Wash.) Convention Center. The four-day event showcases the USA's best in men's and women's trampoline, tumbling, synchronized trampoline and double mini-trampoline.
In addition to the junior and senior elite levels, the U.S. Elite Challenge also includes athletes competing in Level 10 and Youth Elite and Open Elite. The U.S. representatives for trampoline for the Youth Olympic Games are expected to be determined following the U.S. Elite Challenge, and athletes are also vying for spots to the selection camp this fall for the 2014 World Championships and World Age Group Competition, scheduled for Daytona Beach, Fla., in November. Additionally, the U.S. Elite Challenge serves as the national championships for Levels 5-7, which feature approximately 700 athletes.
In Spokane, elite competition gets underway on Thursday with synchronized trampoline titles up for grabs, starting at 7:15 p.m. Then, on June 13, elite qualification begins at 5 p.m. in men’s and women’s trampoline, double mini-trampoline and tumbling. Elite finals in each of the three different events will be held Saturday, June 14, at beginning at 6 p.m. Available at the door, tickets are $40 for all-session tickets or $15 a day. For a complete schedule, go to this site.
The Spokane Sports Commission worked with USA Gymnastics to bring the event to Spokane and will assist with organizing and staging the competition. Spokane Gymnastics will also be involved as part of the local organizing committee.
Trampoline events involve athletes using trampolines that can propel them up to 30 feet in the air, during which they can perform double and triple twisting somersaults. Tumbling utilizes elevated rod-floor runways that enable athletes to jump at heights more than 10 feet and execute a variety of acrobatic maneuvers. For the double-mini competition, the athlete makes a short run, leaps onto a small two-level trampoline, performs an aerial maneuver and dismounts onto a landing mat. Synchronized trampoline demands the same athletic skill as individual trampoline, while adding the element of precision timing. Using two trampolines, two athletes perform identical 10-skill routines at the same time. Trampoline was added to the Olympic Games in 2000, and at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, the USA had its first athlete in history advance to the finals.
Based in Indianapolis, USA Gymnastics is the national governing body for gymnastics in the United States. Its mission is to encourage participation and the pursuit of excellence in the sport. Its disciplines include men's and women's artistic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, trampoline and tumbling, acrobatic gymnastics and group gymnastics. For more information, log on to www.usagym.org.