Hawaii trampoline gymnasts dream of soaring at Olympic Games
HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The high-flying sport of competitive trampoline gymnastics demands fitness, focus, and a work ethic that takes years to develop.
“You have to be very strong mentally. Trampoline can be very mentally challenging. I do trampoline for six days a week, three hours a day,” Kayttie Nakamura said.
The Kalani High School senior and Sydney Senter, a junior at Hawaii Baptist Academy, have met the challenge of competing at the highest level of trampolining.
Both performed in the pressure cooker of national and international gymnastics meets where one misstep can cost you.
"When I jump it's very rare that I hear anything," Sydney said. "You're so in the zone."
Last month the pair helped Team USA win gold at the World Championships in Japan. Kayttie also captured a silver medal in a tandem event.
“For me to hear Team USA World Champions, it was an amazing feeling. It was so unreal,” she said.
Scoring is based on execution, degree of difficulty and height. To perform flips and turns their jumps can exceed fifteen feet.
Sydney said the adrenaline rush is amazing.
"When you see your team in the stands waving their flags and doing the USA cheers, you just see everything and you're like, wow!" she said.
Kayttie came away from the World Games confident she’s got a shot at making Team USA for this year’s Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
"I realized I really do belong here. I've earned my place here just as much as everyone else has," she said.
Sydney's also motivated by Olympic dreams.
"If 2020 is not attainable, if that goal is not attainable I think I'm going to continue on when I go to college and shoot for 2024 in Paris as well," she said.
Both girls got hooked on trampoline gymnastics when they were kids tumbling and flipping at Hawaii Academy where they still train.
“I started trampoline here at Hawaii Academy when I was 5 years old, so I’ve been doing it for 12 years,” Sydney said.
"I think when I went to my first world's which was in 2014 is when I started to realize that I could actually go pretty far in this sport," Kayttie said.
At the age of 17, they’ve already proven they have what it takes to jump against the best in the world.
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