Gymnastics/Trampoline: Trying to reach even higher heights The London 2012 Olympic Games do not begin until July but Savannah Vinsant and Steven Gluckstein, in a sense, already have scored Olympic victories.
The London 2012 Olympic Games do not begin until July but Savannah Vinsant and Steven Gluckstein, in a sense, already have scored Olympic victories.
Now the two American trampoline gymnasts are ready to jump through the door of opportunity they have opened for the entire U.S. women’s and men’s teams.
Earlier this month, Gluckstein followed Vinsant’s performance in November by finishing 10th overall in an Olympic test event in London, securing a spot for the United States in men’s trampoline at the upcoming Games in London. Vinsant had earned a spot for the U.S. women by finishing seventh at the World Championships in Birmingham, England.
A U.S. woman has qualified for the Olympic Games every time since trampoline was added to the Olympic program in 2000. The first U.S. man to qualify in trampoline for the Olympic Games was Chris Estrada in 2008.
Now Vinsant and Gluckstein, both proud to have produced under pressure, hope to earn the right to be the next U.S. representatives in the Olympic Games by soaring through a series of three trials in April, May and June.
Both say their performances have given them a determination and energy they have never felt before.
“Placing seventh there and doing as well as a I did, that’s just a huge confidence booster and lets me know I can run with the big dogs,” Vinsant, 18, said from her home in Lafayette, La. “I know I’m just as capable of doing what they do, if not more.”
Gluckstein, 21, said his job in London was to nail down a spot, “And I got the job done.”
“I am feeling so excited,” added Gluckstein, from Atlantic Highlands, N.J. “This qualification into the Olympics for my country has given me such a boost of confidence, encouragement and motivation like I’ve never had before. I’ve always had this burning inside of me, this desire to excel, but there’s something new in me that’s really getting me going.
“I’m taking every possible step to maximize my performance and reach my goals this year.”
“One of my best routines ever”
Vinsant, who was competing in just her second World Championships, knew if she finished eighth in the preliminaries at Birmingham she would not only earn the U.S. a spot in the London Games, but also she would qualify for the event finals.
She finished 10th overall by score, but was among the top eight official qualifiers because China had two more gymnasts in the top 10 than could be counted.
Vinsant performed well in the compulsory exercise (45.595), but did even better in her optional (52.850).
Once Vinsant made the finals, she felt as if she had shed a weight, and she called her optional routine “was one of my best routines ever,” which earned a 53.085 mark.
“I went out there on cloud nine, ecstatic about just being in the finals,” she said. “My first four skills were absolutely amazing. I shocked myself.”