EXPIRED: 04/07/10 – George Nissen, 96, began training in gymnastics as a child, tumbling on his junior high school tumbling team and a local YMCA team when he was in high school. At the Y he also became adept at diving.
When he went to see the circus, he saw trapeze artists fly through the air, dropping at the end of an act into safety netting that would send them rebounding up into somersaults or other stylish moves. It was then that he realized that a similar setup for gymnasts would allow them to perform complex moves like that too similar to the moves that divers do, only they would be able to rebound again and again and do more and more tricks.
So he invented the trampoline.
In fact, Nissan holds more than 40 patents related to sports and fitness and has been a tireless promoter of the trampoline and its many uses throughout his life.
Nissen had always wanted to have trampolining included in the Olympic Games. This finally happened in the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. In 2008, Nissen was able to travel to Beijing to watch the trampoline event at the 2008 Summer Olympics.