Since its first Olympic appearance in 2000, trampoline has featured sky-high skills performed by gymnasts who seemingly defy gravity.
The competition at the 2020 Games was no different, as the athletes flipped and twisted in all directions while maintaining controlled bounces throughout their routines. Many of the competitors were returning champions, but when one wrong landing can severely impact a contender’s score, anyone can come out on top.
China takes top two spots in women's competition
Two-time Olympic champion Rosannagh MaClennan was favored to defend her titles from London and Rio, but Chinese gymnast Zhu Xueying ended MaClennan’s reign with a score of 56.635.
Liu Lingling finished a few tenths behind her teammate to claim the silver, marking the second time China has had two gymnasts make the podium in the event. Tokyo was also the fifth straight Olympics in which the nation won a medal in women’s trampoline.
British gymnast Byrony Page captured her second career Olympic medal when she scored a 55.735 to place third, adding a bronze to the silver she won in Rio. Her score was .275 higher than MaClennan’s, who finished fourth.
Nicole Ahsinger was the only gymnast representing Team USA in the women’s trampoline competition, and she made history by placing sixth. That ties 2012 Olympian Savannah Vinsant as the best finish by an American trampoline gymnast.
SEE MORE: China sweeps gold, silver in women's trampoline
LITVINOVICH WINS HISTORIC GOLD FOR BELARUS
History repeated itself in the men’s final, as a gymnast from Belarus won gold for the second consecutive Olympics.
In 2016, it was Uladzislau Hancharou. Ivan Litvinovich carried on the tradition in Tokyo.
The 20-year-old had the most difficult routine of all the competitors in the final and minimized the deductions that came with a few unruly bounces to edge China’s Dong Dong for the gold.
SEE MORE: Men's Trampoline Final: Litvinovich wins gold in trampoline
Litvinovich’s medal was the Belarus’ first gold of the 2020 Olympics, and the silver was the fourth total for Dong. The Chinese gymnast had a full set of Olympic medals before competing in Tokyo, including a gold from London, a silver from Rio and a bronze from Beijing.
New Zealand’s Dylan Schmidt placed third with a 60.675 to win the nation’s first-ever Olympic medal in any gymnastics discipline.
Noticeably absent from the final was reigning world champion and gold medal favorite Gao Lei who did not advance beyond the preliminaries. The Chinese gymnast stopped his routine short after landing a skill on a mat off the trampoline
American Alexi Shostak also struggled during his preliminary routine. His leg slipped through the trampoline after a landing came too close to the edge, and he did not advance to the final.