LAFAYETTE, La – Most athletes only dream of making the Olympics.
For trampoline gymnast Nicole Ahsinger, that dream became a reality. Twice.
She earned her second trip to the Olympics after her performance at the Olympic Trials in St. Louis on June 25th.
“Immediately when I saluted, I got tears in my eyes because I just knew that I had done it,”” Ahsinger says. “I turned to my coach and Dmitri says ‘Congratulations Nicole you did it.’ That’s when the tears started flowing. I was crying.”
And she wasn’t the only one crying.
Her biggest supporters were in the stands rooting her on as she became the first trampoline gymnast to represent the U.S. in back-to-back Olympic Games since 2004.
“They recorded themselves watching,” Ahsinger says. “My mom is crying counting my routine. The minute I did it you can see everybody just crying. It was just so amazing.”
Her parents Michelle and Steven Ahsinger have been on this journey with Nicole since she first started trampoline when she was three years old.
“I really would not be where I am, would not be a two-time Olympian even with the best coach ever,” Ahsinger says. “I still wouldn’t be where I am without my mom and dad.”
The San Diego native moved to Lafayette when she was 16 to pursue her Olympic dreams and train with Trampoline and Tumbling Express coach Dmitri Poliaroush.
“Even when I moved here, I knew this was the best decision of my entire life,” Ahsinger says. “He really knows how to coach an athlete. He is so adaptable among all the different athletes he coaches. I think that’s what makes him a really good coach is that he just knows how to coach me.”
It’s been five years since she last competed in the Olympics, and Ahsinger says she feels the extra year of training will pay off.
“Going into this Olympic Games, I’m just so prepared,” Ahsinger says. “I feel like I’m right up there and in the same caliber as all those girls that I really do have a great shot at even finalling and medaling.”
Earning a spot on the podium would earn the U.S. it’s first medal in trampoline gymnastics since the competition was introduced to the Olympics in 2020.
“Just to represent my country, not just to represent Team USA, to represent Trampoline and Tumbling Express, to represent my family, to represent Lafayette, Louisiana, I just think all that all around would just be so incredible to be able to put a medal around my neck.”