Trampoline athletes to qualify for U.S. Olympic Team on July 1 in Kansas City
posted on 06/25/2008
Erin Blanchard and Chris Estrada
© Diane Bidderman and Mark Rebilas

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind., June 25, 2008 – 2008 U.S. trampoline champions Chris Estrada of Colorado Springs, Colo./OTC Trampoline Team, and Alaina Hebert of Lafayette, La./OTC Trampoline Team, are two of 13 athletes competing July 1 at the Kansas City Convention Center in Kansas City, Mo., in the last of four events that determine which man and which woman will represent the USA in trampoline at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China.

Two U.S. trampoline athletes will be named to the team based on rankings in the Olympic Selection Points System. Athletes earn points based on their finishes at the four identified events, and three of the four competitions count toward the final ranking, dropping the lowest points. The four selection events are: the Grenzland Cup, March 14-15 in Aachen, Germany; the U.S. Elite Challenge, April 18-19; the Visa Championships, May 22-24; and a final selection event, July 1.

Michael Devine of Winnebago, Ill./J & J Tumbling & Trampoline, currently leads the men’s Olympic selection rankings with 54 points, followed by Logan Dooley of Lake Forest, Calif./OTC Trampoline Team, in second (51 points) and Estrada in third (46). For the women, Erin Blanchard of Lafayette, La./OTC Trampoline Team, is first with 66 points, followed closely by Hebert in second with 63 and Alaina Williams of Amarillo, Texas/OTC Trampoline Team, in third with 51.

Along with Devine, Dooley and Estrada, the other men competing are: Kyle Bowen of Middletown, N.J./Ultra Twisters; Brandon English of Stafford, Va./Novaks’ Gymnastics Center; Steven Gluckstein of Atlantic Highlands, N.J./Ultra Twisters; Neil Gulati of Irvine, Calif./World Elite Gymnastics; and Ryan Walsh of Asheville, N.C./OTC Trampoline Team. In addition to Blanchard, Hebert and Williams, the other women in the field are: Amanda Bailey of Lubbock, Texas/Air Extreme; and Brittany Dircks of Orland Park, Ill./Ultra Twisters.

The United States qualified for the 2008 Olympic Games in trampoline based on performances at the 2007 World Championships. This is the first time the USA has qualified for men’s trampoline at the Olympics, while this is the USA’s third straight appearance in women’s trampoline at the Olympic Games.

The competition begins with preliminaries at 7 p.m., followed by the finals at 8:10 p.m. The 2008 Junior Olympic National Championships will be held July 2-6 in conjunction with the final selection event.

Devine is the 2006 U.S. synchronized trampoline champion, and he finished second in trampoline at the U.S. National Championships in 2006 and 2008. Estrada claimed his fourth straight U.S. trampoline title at the 2008 Visa Championships and won the gold medal in trampoline at the 2007 Pan American Games.

Blanchard is the 2006 U.S. trampoline champion and has won the U.S. synchronized trampoline title twice (2006 and 2008). In 2008, she finished first in trampoline at the Grenzland Cup, the Winter Classic and the U.S. Elite Challenge. Hebert added a second U.S. trampoline at the 2008 Visa Championships to the one she claimed in 2005. She retired briefly in 2005 before returning to competitive trampoline in 2008. Before retiring in 2005, Hebert finished fifth in trampoline at the 2005 World Championships and at the 2005 World Cup in Bulgaria.

Based in Indianapolis, USA Gymnastics is the national governing body for gymnastics in the United States. Its mission is to encourage participation and the pursuit of excellence in the sport. Its disciplines include men's and women's artistic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, trampoline and tumbling, and acrobatic gymnastics.