Business student first ever trampolinist to represent NZ at Olympic Games

26 July 2016
Dylan Schmidt
Dylan Schmidt

While other kids were shivering on netball courts and rugby fields, Dylan Schmidt and his brother and sister were perfecting their tuck jumps and straddles on a trampoline.

Now 19, Dylan is taking a break from his studies at the University of Auckland Business School to compete in trampoline at the Olympic Games. He will be the first ever to represent New Zealand in this event at the games.

Over winter, he’s been juggling his studies with recovering from having his appendix out, training and competing in two World Cup events in Switzerland. He’s studying towards a Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in Information Systems and Operations Management (ISOM) and Consumer Law.

He says he’s always had to balance training with study. He has a spreadsheet for the year, and appreciates the flexibility around deadlines afforded to student athletes on the High Performance Programme. (He did one exam for a first year paper in Portugal, during the lead-up to a World Cup.)

“Trampolining has helped me with my study in the sense that it makes me more organised, I have a timeframe.”

In a normal week, he trains on the trampoline 16 hours over six days, as well as spending an hour or two at the gym twice a week.

Many Kiwis will remember backyard shenanigans on trampolines, but watching Schmidt is a revelation. Competitive trampoline has an exacting beauty. It resembles a rebound waterless diving, or airborne gymnastics.

“People don’t really know what it is, but once they’ve seen it – wow, it’s pretty crazy – it changes their mind!”

Schmidt’s sister, Rachael, and brother, Callum, also did competitive trampolining, and Rachael still does.

Each competition consists of two routines, Schmidt explains: one easy, one hard. Each routine contains 10 skills. Competitors are judged on difficulty and execution.

“It’s more about a style that you have. You can change the order of the skills but most of the time there are stock standard routines.”

He says he’s focussed on doing his best at the Olympics.

“I don’t go into a competition with the goal of a gold medal in mind,” he says. “If you’re thinking about the outcomes it doesn’t help much when you’re competing; it’s about doing the best I can and gaining as much experience as I can.

“I can’t really expect Gold being so young. My goal is to come in the top eight, then at the next Olympics aim for the podium.”


Nicola Shepheard
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