Everyone has been on a trampoline before.
You can remember playing around by jumping, landing on your rear then bouncing back to your feet. Or maybe acting like you’re walking on the moon from the comfort of your backyard.
While the moon may be out of reach for one Waxahachie resident, a trampoline may get her to Brazil for the 2016 summer Olympics.
Clare Johnson, 16, has been hard at work racking up notable achievements for her efforts on the trampoline and recently earned a spot on the USA Senior Elite National Team for 2013-14.
Johnson trains at Trevino’s Gymnastics School, which is between Red Oak and Lancaster.
She is also currently ranked in the top-eight nationally in the trampoline event and has a shot of representing her country in the next Olympic games.
“It’s a great honor making that team since usually you have to be 17 to make the team, but this year they let me and another 16-year-old girl make the team,” Johnson said. “It would really be a dream come true to make the Olympic squad and get to represent the USA.”
She must finish in the top-four at an event in Florida in September to have a chance to advance to the World Championships in Bulgaria in November. Once there, she can improve her standing even more and put herself in position to make the team.
“She’s already got her mind set on what she has to do to get on that track,” said Rich Trevino, owner of Trevino’s Gymnastics School. “She isn’t going to stop until she reaches her goal. She’s out here training every day and is putting in all the work she can.”
Last year, USA was represented by Savannah Vinsant, now 20, in London and she came in sixth place. Trampoline was introduced to the Olympics in 2000 and the US team is yet to win a medal in the event.
The US has only taken one competitor for the trampoline in each Olympics so far. Trevino said that a couple of girls in between Vinsant and Johnson are considering retiring between now and 2016, which improves her chances of advancing.
“By the time the games come around, she could easily be in the top-three or four and then she will have to battle to get there,” Trevino said. “I’ve got no doubt that she will give everything she can to make that team.”
If Johnson is in the discussion after the two upcoming events this year, she thinks it will just increase her motivation.
“I think I’m already pretty motivated, but I think I will just be more excited,” Johnson said. “Seeing the other competitors will be a great way to motivate me too.”
Johnson trains for three hours every morning on the trampoline and also studies tricks and jumps while being home schooled, to optimize her gym time.
“I take it pretty serious I guess. When I was younger, the gym I worked out at didn’t have a trampoline so I was doing other things, but once I got here I just fell in love with the trampoline,” Johnson said. “I do some good tricks now, but to make the Olympics I’m going to need to try more difficult skills.”
She easily jumps 15-feet in the air and makes her tricks look effortless.
That helps explain how she’s already taken a gold medal and has a fourth-place finish at the 2010 Pan-American Games in Florida and she’s competed at the Visa National Championships in Portugal and the World Championships in Russia.