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Friday, 22 September, 2000, 14:40 GMT 15:40 UK
Karavaeva bounces to historic gold
Russian Irina Karavaeva captured the first gold medal ever awarded in trampolining, as the sport made its Olympic debut in front of an enthusiastic and curious audience.
However, there was disappointment for British champion Jaime Moore. The 21-year-old Northampton-based competitor had been expected to challenge for a medal but finished 12th and last.
Karavaeva, a three-time world champion who has dominated the sport for over half a decade, claimed the historic medal with a winning mark of 38.90.
Oxana Tsyhuleva of Ukraine took the silver with 37.70 and Karen Cockburn of Canada the bronze with 37.40.
"When I began on the trampoline I never thought it would become an Olympic event," said Karavaeva, 25, who did not take up the sport until she was 15. "I can't compare this moment to anything else, to any other competition."
Anna Dogonadze, a 27-year-old mother from Germany, led after the qualifying and had looked poised to take the gold.
The last of eight finalists to step onto the trampoline, Dogonadze's medal bid came to an end when she bounced off the apparatus early in her routine and landed in the safety padding.
As the competition began, a near sell-out crowd of almost 15,000 at the Superdome appeared uncertain exactly what, or when, to applaud, except for when Australian medal hope Robyn Forbes stepped onto the podium.
Before the event began, the announcer attemped to familiarise the audience with the sport, running through the basic rules and judging guidelines.
With gymnasts soaring up to 10 metres into the air, executing daredevil somersaults and twists as unfamiliar as their names, such as Branis and Triffis (a triple front somersault with a half-twist on the third flip), the crowd's attention was quickly snared.
But as the competiton continued, the crowd grew fidgety, focusing their attention on the wave and booing the judges when the mood struck, although for no apparent reason.
"A lot of people really don't know what trampolining is," said Cockburn. "They still think it's a plaything in your backyard. "But after what they saw tonight, the sport might grow a little. I think it's positive."
25 Aug 00 | Gymnastics
Jaime hopes to spring a surprise
09 Aug 00 | Gymnastics
Trampoline bounces into Olympic picture
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