Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Trampoline Creator Has Died

George Nissen, who co-created the trampoline as a young man in Iowa in the 1930s, has died at the age of 96.  You can read his obituary in the New York Times HERE.  He originally called his invention by a less catchy name, the "bouncing rig," before later settling on one derived from the Spanish word for "diving board": el trampolin.  Mr. Nissen apparently devoted his life to promoting and selling the trampoline, living to see his invention become an Olympic sport in 2000.

Though as anyone who has ever bounced on a backyard trampoline as a kid can attest, there is a definite dark side to this alluring, almost magical device: a world of awkward falls, "hilarious" injuries, and even the occasional compound fracture. You Tube has dozens of videos of such mishaps, and they're still featured regularly today on TV shows like America's Funniest Home Videos.  They're so common, in fact, that you get sort of inured to them after a while.  So I haven't embedded any of those videos here.  But I have included a video below that I think is "inspired by" the trampoline. It's an 18 second clip of a teenage guy who jumps off the top of a vending machine at school, trying ( "trying") to do a backflip and land back on his feet on the concrete floor.

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