LOCAL NEWS

Utah Athletes Compete On Global Stage In Sport Many Haven’t Heard About

Nov 29, 2019, 11:07 PM | Updated: Dec 2, 2019, 8:40 pm

PROVO, Utah — If you just take a glimpse, the scene at High Altitude Tumbling all seems very familiar with kids practicing on the balance beam, others trying to flip over a bar and a group on the floor being instructed on how to stretch.

But look past the obvious, over to the far side of the room, and wait for the confusion to set in.

“I just tell them I’m a gymnastics coach, isn’t that funny?” said Andy Bryner.

It’s a common refrain, especially among the athletes Bryner works with.

Simon Smith flips through the air after a bounce on the double mini at High Altitude in Provo.

“Yeah, I don’t even try,” said Simon Smith. “I just tell people I’m a gymnast.”

The explanations can get a little complex.

“I just say it’s like the floor in gymnastics, without all the dancing,” said athlete Ashley McDonald.

What they’re talking about has a lot in common with traditional gymnastics — but this is a different version, involving three separate events: tumbling, the trampoline and something called the
“double mini.”

Altogether, it’s called “trampoline and tumbling.”

“They’re like, ‘What? Like a trampoline that’s mini?'” said athlete Shelby Nobuhara, talking about the reactions to explaining what the double mini is. “They’re like, ‘What are you saying?'”

Sometimes, the questions keep coming.

“They’re like, ‘Awesome, when are you going to the Olympics?'” Nobuhara said. “And I’m like, ‘So, it’s not in the Olympics.'”

Shelby Nobuhara prepares to sprint towards the trampolines on a double mini run.

It’s so unknown, there are parts even the athletes themselves don’t fully understand.

“I mean, it doesn’t really make sense that trampoline is the only one that’s an Olympic sport,” Smith said.

In the face of constant questions, they’ve all found their own ways to cope.

“I’ll end up showing them a video,” Smith said.

“Yeah, I always have a video on my phone,” McDonald said.

Ashley McDonald and Andy Bryner watch as another athlete finishes tumbling.

“I’ll show videos,” Bryner said.

“I just show them a video and they’re still confused, but that’s okay,” Nobuhara said.

To those who aren’t a part of this acrobatic club, their ways may seem mysterious — but in the world of trampoline and tumbling, they’re basically a group of superstars.

“We have three athletes from High Altitude that are going to Tokyo to represent the USA at World Championships,” Bryner said.

Smith, McDonald and Nobuhara are all competing on the global stage as part of the Trampoline Gymnastics World Championships.

Smith and McDonald are competing in the main competition — Nobuhara, who’s a little younger at 15 years old, is competing in what’s called the “World Age Group Competition.”

For Smith, it’s his first attempt on such a big platform.

“I’m really excited,” he said.

For Nobuhara, it’s a chance to be modest for the second year in a row.

“I took first on double mini,” she said with a laugh, sheepishly explaining how she placed last time.

McDonald’s traveled before as well — for her, it’s a chance at redemption.

“Russia, I got food poisoning on the way there,” she said. “I didn’t do as well, I took 12th. I was hoping to medal since I took fourth the year before.”

Even their coach is going along, leading our country’s junior athletes at the World Age Groups.

“I’m actually coaching Team USA,” Bryner said. “So I’ll get to be on the floor with Shelby this year. It’ll be a cool experience.”

They may be involved in a sport that’s shrouded in obscurity but these athletes hope every victory they claim for themselves will push them all just a little closer to the spotlight.

“It doesn’t bug me, or like, annoy me to explain it, because I want this sport to be more known to the world,” Nobuhara said.

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

man with breathing tubes wears a white hat...

Tamara Vaifanua

Family, friends celebrate Kearns man’s 100th birthday

A Kearns man celebrated his 100th birthday.

13 minutes ago

Follow @KSL5TVLike us on Facebook...

Tamara Vaifanua

Utah high school basketball player reaches milestone: 1,000 rebounds in single season

A Utah high school basketball player grabbed a huge career milestone – 1,000 rebounds in a single season; and she’s not stopping there.

53 minutes ago

(KSL TV)...

Annie Knox and Daniella Rivera

5 things to know about KSL’s legal fight for transparency

How much should Utahns get to know about how elected officials spend their time on the clock? The question is at the center of a legal fight taking KSL to court Monday.

6 hours ago

The Utah Avalanche Center opened a new beacon training park at Pinebrook Sunday, the closest park t...

Shelby Lofton

Utah Avalanche Center opens new rescue skills training park close to Salt Lake City

The Utah Avalanche Center opened a new beacon training park at Pinebrook on Sunday, the closest park to Salt Lake City.

13 hours ago

Thousands of Filipino’s filled the stands at a historic and sacred Catholic University to attend ...

Dan Rascon

Thousands attend interfaith concert in Manila with the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square

Thousands of people from the Philippines filled the stands at a historic and sacred Catholic University to attend an interfaith concert with the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square.

13 hours ago

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox, left, and President Joe Biden toast before Biden speaks to members of the Na...

Darlene Superville, The Associated Press

Biden and Utah’s governor call for less bitterness and more bipartisanship

President Joe Biden and Utah Gov. Spencer Cox disagree on many issues but they were united Saturday in calling for less bitterness in politics and more bipartisanship.

14 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Utah Athletes Compete On Global Stage In Sport Many Haven’t Heard About