|Credentials||Shuai is the current world champion. His winning performance included the highest degree of difficulty (DD) of a 16.1 for a final score of 41.4. "He gains incredible height and at the same time shows great control and technique," said CBC analyst Lori Strong-Ballard. "His performance began with a Reudi Out Triffus pike - that's three rotations with a one-and-a-half twist in the final rotation, one of the most difficult skills."|
|Credentials||Dong was 2nd at the 2007 world championships. His DD was 15.8 and he scored 40.7. Dong also won several golds in the world cup series last year.|
|Credentials||Ueyama won a bronze medal at the world championships in 2007 and silver in 2005. He also won the world cup final in 2006.|
|Credentials||Sotomura was 4th at the 2007 world championships and won bronze at the same event in 2005. He's been preparing for these games for several years by gaining experience in world cups. His results have been successful and consistent, said Strong-Ballard.|
|Credentials||Stehlik placed 5th at the last world championships, with a DD of 15.6 and a score of 39.5. He also came 5th at the 2005 world championships and won gold at the same event in 2003. At the 2004 Olympics, Stehlik won bronze, but was first in qualifying. Name: Flavio Cannone|
|Credentials||Cannone came 6th at the 2007 world championships, and 7nth at the same event in 2005. He also competed in Athens and came in 13th place in qualifying.|
|Credentials||Beijing will be Rusakov’s third Olympics. He was 5th in both Sydney and Athens. He came 7th at the 2007 world championships and performed the highest level of difficulty in the final: 16.2. At the 2005 world championships, he won gold, and in 2003 he was 2nd at the same event.|
|Credentials||Ushakov placed 8th at the 2007 world championships and won a world cup in March of this year. This athlete could be starting to peak, said Strong-Ballard.|
|Credentials||Burnett is a three-time national champion in Canada, and secured his Olympic berth at a world cup in early June, qualifying for the final in 8th place.|
On a roll
After major success in the world championships, China has officially solidified itself as the new powerhouse nation in trampoline, a sport dominated by the European nations. Chinese athletes won half the individual medals at 2007 worlds, with the men finishing 1st and 2nd. Ye Shuai was triumphant at worlds but his teammate Dong Dong could be just as strong in Beijing.
"China is so deep with talent that they have about a half dozen male athletes who could win medals, but a country can send a maximum of only two athletes," said Strong-Ballard.
On a slide
The 2005 world champion Alexander Rusakov from Russia just missed medals at the last two Olympics. And while competing one of the most difficult routines at the 2007 worlds final, Strong-Ballard said he didn’t look as sharp and clean as his Chinese competitors. "Rusakov is very good and has seen some great success but may be past his prime."
The X-factor in trampoline is the nature of the sport itself, said Strong-Ballard. Trampoline is one of the most unpredictable and unforgiving sports. Even a minor mistake can send the most experienced athlete off the trampoline bed, resulting in an incomplete routine and a score so low that a medal would be out of the question. "In many sports a mistake by one athlete can be made up by another teammate," Strong-Ballard said. "But not in trampoline."
Under the radar
Japan has also shown huge improvements over the last few years but has been in the shadow of China and their newly found dominance. Both Ueyama Yasuhiro and Tetsuya Sotomara could win medals in Beijing.
Canada qualified one spot for an athlete in Beijing. Three -ime Canadian national champion Jason Burnett secured that spot earlier this year after qualifying to a world cup final in France.
"Burnett is known as a daredevil and can compete some of the highest difficulty but consistency and stability will be key if he hopes to make the final in Beijing," said Strong-Ballard.
If China can hold up under the pressure of being the host country, most expect them to finish first and second in Beijing, said Strong-Ballard.
"Trampoline is still a new Olympic sport, it made its debut in Sydney 2000. Many of the athletes are not used to competing in front of such large and loud audiences and with China as the dominant nation and host, and the turn out is expected to be grand. All of the athletes will have some adjusting to do in terms of handling their nerves and the pressure," she said.