Savannah Vinsant, leaping to new heights
After competing at the 2010 Youth Olympic Games in Singapore, Savannah Vinsant became the first American athlete to qualify for the Olympic trampoline final at London 2012.
Savannah Vinsant has been bouncing on trampolines since the age of seven. At 16, she left home to attend one of the USA’s Olympic training centres to focus on her dream of one day appearing at the Games. Then in 2010, the determined American took part in the first-ever Youth Olympic Games, held in Singapore. The competition provided her with an important confidence boost, as she finished second in the qualifying round and fifth in the final.
During the 2011 World Trampoline and Tumbling Championships in Birmingham (GBR), Vinsant qualified for the final again, this time finishing in 10th place, a result that secured the United States a slot at the 2012 Olympic Games. However, the Lousiana-born trampolinist still had to gain an individual place, which she duly did by winning all three of the American qualifying tournaments. “I’m speechless – I have no words for it,” she exclaimed, upon learning she would be representing her country in London.
On 4 August 2012 in the North Greenwich Arena, Vinsant created a little piece of history by becoming the first American to obtain a top-eight finish in the trampoline final. The youngest athlete in the competition, she put in a highly creditable performance that earned her a score of 54.965 and sixth place. “It’s absolutely amazing! I can’t do anything but smile. I didn’t even expect to reach the final,” she said.
The trailblazing Olympian was also in no doubt about the important role that Singapore 2010 had played in her development. “The Youth Olympics helped me a lot, because I knew what to expect. It’s just that here, everything – the crowd, the pressure – is bigger,” she said.
Aged just 19 in London, the business and psychology student made it clear that she had no intention of resting on her laurels. “The London Games were just a stepping stone in my career. I plan on being in Rio in 2016, so I’ve got four years to improve everything, and hopefully the medals will follow,” she concluded confidently.©IOC/ROWLINSON, Billy