A former gymnast himself, George Nissen’s greatest contribution to the sport was his invention of the trampoline, which he developed with Larry Griswold.
The Iowa graduate went into business with Griswold and developed the modern trampoline commercially. However, he was known for providing universities with the apparatuses at no cost in order to boost the popularity of the trampoline as a gymnastics event. He is credited for making the trampoline a worldwide sport, and the event reached the Olympic Games in 2000— 74 years after Nissen and Griswold first created the equipment.
Nissen and Griswold founded the US Tumbling and Trampoline Association, and the most prestigious annual collegiate gymnastics award, the Nissen Award, is his namesake.