World class trampoline athletes train on east side
Two of the best trampoline athletes in the world live and train on the east side of Indianapolis. The unique sport has aspects of floor exercise and the vault with a lot more bounce.
A little bit jet lagged but perked up with pride at being named among the best in the world, Alex Renkert and Tristan VanNatta are back at their home gym in Geist, practicing on the mini double trampoline.
"There is a lot of risk and a lot can happen in two seconds," said Renkert.
They are both members of Team USA, representing USA Gymnastics at the 2013 World Trampoline and Tumbling Championships in Bulgaria.
"It's a daredevil sport definitely," said Renkert.
They were among 300 athletes from 39 countries and made it to the top of the podium. Renkert earned silver in the double mini trampoline finals.
"As soon as I landed, it was the most exciting feeling. I knew I had a medal right away and there was no controlling the excitement that I had," Renkert said.
Both Renkert and VanNatta were among the three USA athletes to compete in their team finals. He opted for what he lands consistently, a one-and-a-half twisting forward skill with two flips and a triple back pike dismount.
"In team finals, it wasn't quite as clean and nice, but I did my duty and made it," Renkert said.
VanNatta completed a double front half out pike to a fully twisting double tuck. It was enough for gold.
"It really hit me I realized I'm...our team is the best in the world, like, there is nothing better than that," she said.
Alex moved to Geist sports Academy to train with Tristan a year ago.
"Before I came here, I was training by myself and it was kinda going downhill for me at all the competitions. I didn't have that push that I needed and now I have that push," he said.
"Once they came together, the dynamic was amazing to watch them challenge each other," said coach Amber VanNatta.
"I feel like I've become a better gymnast since he's moved to our gym," Tristan said.
Now they are wanting more - individual gold in the trampoline and medals in power tumbling - it's where they race through eight skills in 86 feet. They have 12 months and will spend them trying to top each other, because it seems to be the secret sauce.
"The more they are together, the more likely th ey are to be successful and build a dynamic where they are supporting each other and going through common ground," Amber VanNatta said.
Renkert attends IUPUI, while VanNatta is a senior at Pendleton Heights High School. They hope one day, trampoline will be a recognized Olympic sport, but in the meantime, the World Championship is the most elite international competition.