How high can you bounce on a Trampoline?

And now, it’s time for Who Smarted?
Narrator: Psst, hey, Smarty Pants, have you ever jumped on a trampoline? Maybe it was in a backyard or an indoor trampoline park? Or maybe you do gymnastics, or you’ve been in a bouncy castle?
Well, right now, I’m actually in the great big state of Alaska, where some native Alaskans, known as Inuits, are having me take part in one of their most honored traditions. It’s called “Melukatak,” which means “Blanket toss,” and it celebrates the end of the whale hunting season.
As part of the celebration, they have someone known as a blanket dancer, in this case, me, stand on top of a circular walrus skin that’s being held taut by several people called “Pullers.” When the pullers tug the walrus skin, it sends the blanket dancer, me, flying up into the air. Whoa! Blanket dancers can reach heights as high as 40 feet. That’s like the fourth floor of a building.
At one time, hunters did this to spot animals that were far away. Technically, I’m supposed to be throwing candy down to the children watching while I bounce, but I’m having a hard enough time just trying to land back on the skin. Did I mention they’re tossing me really high? Uh-oh, the wind’s picking up. It’s blowing me sideways. I don’t think I’m going to land back on the…
George: I got you, Trusty.
Narrator: Thanks for catching me. You sure are strong. And you are?
George: George Neeson. I’m the gymnast who helped invent the modern-day trampoline, which operates a lot like the blanket toss you were just enjoying.
Narrator: I don’t know if enjoy is the right word. Also, you can put me down now.
George: Sure thing.
Narrator: So, is this ritual where you got the idea for the trampoline?
George: No, I actually got the idea as a boy when I saw circus trapeze artists bouncing up after falling into a net. It looked so fun. I had to try it. So, my friend and I built the world’s first trampoline in my garage, and the rest is history.
Narrator: Wait, George, you can’t just say, “And the rest is history.” For one thing, the Smarty Pants and I have lots of questions about trampolines, like “How do trampolines work? What are they used for? And what is the best way to safely enjoy a trampoline?”
George: Oh, I can answer those questions.
Narrator: Great. Then let’s jump right into another whiff of history and science on… Who Smarted? Who Smarted? Who Smarted? Is it you? Is it me? Is it science? Or history? Listen up, everyone, we make smarting, lots of fun, on Who Smarted?
Narrator: All righty, George, let’s start by hearing a bit more about that first trampoline you invented. You say you had some help?
George: Yes. Larry Griswold was my gymnastics coach at the University of Iowa. In college, Larry would get a bunch of gymnasts together, and we’d put on an acrobatics show. I enjoyed doing them so much, I decided to keep doing shows even after I graduated.
In 1936, Larry and I built a trampoline that I could use in my act. Of course, we didn’t call it a trampoline yet.
Narrator: Smarty Pants, what do you think the first trampolines were called?
• Rebound Tumblers?
• Jump boosters?
• Or Sky Touchers?
If you said, “Rebound Tumblers,” you’re right. Though I got to say, I kind of like Sky Touchers better.
George: Either way, the real name came a few years later. I was performing down in Mexico when I heard someone use the Spanish word “Trampolin,” which means “Diving board.” I thought, “Hmm, the way you bounce on our rebound tumbler is kind of like bouncing on a diving board.”
So I added an “E” to “Trampolin,” and the “Trampoline” was born.
Narrator: Sound guy, can we please stop doing that?
Sound Guy: [Sorry]
Narrator: I wish we could see how a trampoline actually works.
George: Luckily, I happen to have one with me.
Narrator: Whoa, how do you fit that trampoline in your bag?
George: Are you kidding? I’d leave the house without pants before leaving without my travel trampoline.
Narrator: Yes, let’s not do that. Anyway, as you were saying.
George: Actually, it’s better to show you. See, a lot of people think it’s the stretchy fabric that makes you bounce. But no. Ooh.
Narrator: [Clears throat]
Sound Guy: [Sorry]
Narrator: Wait, Smarty Pants. If it isn’t the fabric you jump on that makes you bounce, what is it? I’ll give you a hint. It’s one of the four seasons. No, not autumn. Spring.
George: Yep, it’s the springs that connect the fabric to the trampoline’s frame that causes you to bounce.
See, when I land on the trampoline like this, [spring, spring, spring] it stretches the springs out, which gives them what scientists call, “Potential energy.”
Narrator: Which is also known as “Stored up energy.” Then what?
George: The springs spring back to their original position using that stored up energy to launch me into the air. [Yahoo!]
Narrator: Wow, that’s out of sight. And by that, I mean, I can’t see George anymore. Oh, there he is. Ooh. Nice flip to smell.
George: Ah, thanks. Anyway, Larry and I knew we were onto something. And in 1942, we started our own business, “The Griswold-Neeson Trampoline and Tumbling Company,” and began selling trampolines. Pretty soon, they were everywhere, thanks to some creative promotion.
Narrator: Are you talking about the stunt you pulled in Central Park?
George: Indeed.
Narrator: To help get the word out about trampolines, Smarty Pants, George set up a trampoline jumping exhibition in the middle of New York City’s Central Park. But George wasn’t the only one on the trampoline. He had a special guest. Who was it?
• Was it the President of the United States?
• Famous movie star, Marilyn Monroe?
• Or a kangaroo?
If you said “Kangaroo,” you got it.
George: That kangaroo’s name was Victoria. At first, I did all my jumping way over on the other side of the trampoline because I was afraid, she’d kick me. But she turned out to be a sweetheart.
Anyway, that little stunt I pulled got people talking about trampolines. And pretty soon, people were doing their own stunts.
Narrator: Yes? Like what?
George: Well, for starters, six fraternity brothers at Cleveland State University set a world’s record by taking turns bouncing on a trampoline for 53 days straight.
Narrator: 53 days? That’s almost two months.
George: Yup. They even got a congratulatory call from their fraternity brother, President Ronald Reagan.
Narrator: I hope you wrote them a note for missing classes for two months.
George: Another trampoline record was set by a man named Lucas Laurent. He did 49 back-flips in one minute. That’s nearly one per second.
Narrator: That sounds like quite a workout. Speaking of, Smarty Pants, did you know that jumping on a trampoline is a great form of exercise? Say, can I get a turn?
George: Sure. Hop on.
Narrator: Scientists at NASA say trampolining for just 10 minutes is as good a workout as jogging for a half hour.
George: That’s partly because bouncing on a trampoline doesn’t put stress on your joints like running does. But trampolines are a lot more than just good cardio.
Narrator: Smarty Pants. Which of these do you think trampolines help with?
• Stress relief?
• Motor skills?
• Or coordination and balance?
Well, whichever you said is right, because it’s all three.
George: That feeling of weightlessness you get on a trampoline can instantly reduce stress. And the increased oxygen circulation from exercising releases mood-boosting brain chemicals called endorphins.
Narrator: That’s a fancy way of saying it’s fun, Smarty Pants.
George: Plus, when you jump, it makes a lot of different parts of your body work together at once. So, it boosts your motor skills.
Narrator: Plus, every time you bounce in the air, your center of gravity shifts. Figuring out how to twist and contort your body to land on your feet takes coordination and, of course, balance.
George: That’s one of the reasons NASA uses trampolines to train their astronauts. It’s true. It helps them get used to all the weird positions their bodies will be in when they’re floating in zero gravity.
Narrator: Trampolines are also used to train athletes, right? Smarty Pants, can you think of a sport where a trampoline might come in handy?
George: Try thinking of a lot of sports, Smarty Pants. Because a trampoline can help you train for any sport where your body floats through the air. Like diving, snowboarding, and of course, gymnastics. But even cooler than that, trampolining itself is now an official sport and will be seen in the next Olympics in 2024.
Narrator: Now that I’ve got to see. And thanks to my teleporter, we can bounce on over and check out an Olympic trampoline in action right after this quick break.

Hi, parents. Trusty here. Like you, I’ve got a lot on my plate. And as much as I love cooking, what ends up on my dinner plate, sometimes I’m stuck in the studio, on a tight deadline, or simply not in the mood for dishes. That’s when Factor becomes my superhero, delivering delicious chef-crafted meals that fit perfectly into my life. And they’re ready in two minutes or less.
Even better, with 35 meals to choose from each week, Factor is designed to fit into any eating approach. Keto, high protein, calorie-smarter, just plain delicious. So, I can eat well, and hit my macros, and spend less than takeout.
So, here’s some ways that Factor fuels me. During studio sessions when recording runs late, a two-minute gourmet meal keeps me going. Or after a marathon of researching and scripting, when I’m not feeling like cooking from scratch, I can still enjoy a nutritious dinner without the prep. And let’s be honest, sometimes it’s just about avoiding the kitchen cleanup.
So, join me with some hassle-free dining. Head to and use code “SMARTED50” to get 50% off. That’s code “SMARTED50” at to get 50% off.

This message is sponsored by Greenlight.
Hey, parents and guardians, let’s talk about something crucial, Financial Literacy for Our Kids. It’s a conversation that’s as important as any other childhood milestone.
When I was a kid, I’d earn money doing chores with little to no understanding of what to do next. I’d stash my cash in a piggy bank but didn’t know why. I certainly didn’t know much about saving or budgeting. If only Greenlight was around to give me the opportunity for hands-on financial learning.
You see, Greenlight is a debit card and money app designed specifically for families. You can send your kids instant money transfers, get real-time notifications of spending, manage chores, and automate allowance, all while they learn how to handle money responsibly.
With Greenlight, kids learn about saving for goals, budgeting for their wants and needs, and understanding the value of money. Yep, much better than just sticking money in a piggy bank. So, stop putting off the money talk and start putting your kids on the right path.
Sign up for Greenlight today and get your first month free at That’s to try Greenlight for free.

Hey, Smarty Pants, you want to know one of my favorite sounds? Here it is, [click sound]. That’s the sound I hear when I’m learning a new language with Babbel. And if you want to learn a new language this year, I guarantee it’ll be one of your favorite sounds, too.
Learning a new language has always been on my to-do list, and thanks to Babbel, I can check it off. But it’s not just about memorizing words, it’s about understanding a culture, connecting with other people on a deeper level, and expanding my horizons.
With Babbel’s quick 10-minute lessons designed by over 150 language experts, I was able to get the hang of the basics of German in only three weeks. Babbel is convenient, effective, and genuinely fun.
Best of all, Babbel has equipped me with real-life conversation skills, making it easy to order food, ask for directions, or shop in stores. Plus, Babbel’s speech recognition technology has been a game-changer for my pronunciation, helping me sound like a local or close to it. [Dankeschon, Babbel]
Here’s a special limited-time deal for our listeners. Right now, get 50% off a one-time payment for a lifetime Babbel subscription, but only for our listeners, at Get 50% off at Rules and restrictions may apply.

Now back to Who Smarted?
Narrator: Okay, Smarty Pants. My new friend George, the inventor of the trampoline, and I have teleported to the 2024 Olympics in Paris, to watch the super exciting trampoline event.
George: Wow! When Coach Larry and I invented the trampoline, I never dreamed it would be in the Olympics.
Narrator: Congrats! Ooh here comes our first competitor now. What will we see?
George: In this event, each athlete has 10 bounces to perform 10 different skills, it involves moves like twists and somersaults. With each bounce, they can land on their feet, back, stomach, or butt.
Narrator: I know which one I’d probably land on.
George: Just know, these moves aren’t easy. And the more difficult the move, the more points the athletes get. But they’ll also lose points for any mistakes they make. They’ll also be judged on their time of flight. The more time in the air, the more points they’ll earn.
Narrator: Whoa, what was that?
George: That’s called a “Corkscrew.” You start by landing on your back, then you do a half-front somersault with one and a half twists. Then you land on your back again.
Narrator: I can’t believe how much air they got.
George: Next up is a “Barrel roll.” You land on your stomach, then do a twist, then land on your stomach again. Now they’re attempting the “Old Swivel Hips.” You start on your butt, then do a half-twist in the air and land, you guessed it, back on your butt.
Narrator: That was some routine. Who were these four people standing around the trampoline while it was happening?
George: They’re there to help break the athlete’s fall if they misjudge a bounce and fly off the trampoline. Kind of like I did when you did the blanket toss.
Narrator: “I don’t think I’m going to land back on the…” Right. So, what do you think these folks are called, Smarty Pants? Are they,
A- Catchers?
B- Spotters?
C- Lifeguards?
The answer is Spotters.
George: I’m glad we’re talking about them. You see, as much fun as trampolines are, they can also be extremely dangerous.
Narrator: Absolutely. There are over 100,000 injuries caused by trampolines each year.
Many accidents happen when two people try to jump on a trampoline at once. That’s a pretty big no-no, right, George?
George: Oh, for sure. Trusty, when you do that, you can either crash into each other or accidentally bounce the other person right off the trampoline.
Narrator: Remember, any time you’re flying 20 feet in the air, there’s a chance you can get hurt. So bottom line, Smarty Pants, never go on a trampoline without a parent or other adult watching and spotting.
George: Great advice. Now, if you don’t mind, Trusty narrator, I got to bounce.
Narrator: Oh, you have to leave?
George: No, I have to bounce.
Narrator: Ah, I get it. Me too.

A big overseas shout-out to huge Smarty fan Noah and Smarty mom Rebecca in Kerry, Ireland. We hear you’ve listened to every episode three times and just love learning new things and sharing them with the rest of your family. We think that’s Smartastic.

This episode, “Trampolines,” was written by Steve, Massive Airtime Melcher, and voiced by Adam Trix Davis, and Jerry Colver.
Technical direction and sound design by Jumping Josh Hahn.
Who Smarted is recorded and mixed at the Relic Room Studios. Our associate producer is Max Kamaski. The theme song is by Bouncy Brian Suarez, with lyrics written and performed by Adam Tex-Davis.
Who Smarted was created and produced by Adam Tex-Davis and Jerry Colber.
This has been an Atomic Entertainment Production.