Jack Penny Hangs up his Trampoline Shoes!
After 17 years of competitive gymnastics, Tasmanian and Australian representative, Jack Penny has announced his retirement from the sport of Trampoline Gymnastics. Jack began gymnastics in 2001 at the Launceston PCYC in the Men’s Gymnastics Program, however, made the switch to Trampoline soon after Leigh Oswin re-developed the program within the club. Jack’s love for Trampoline Gymnastics was instantaneous, and his performances at the first Launceston competition caught the eye of State Coach, Ben Kelly where he was invited into the newly developed Talent Identification Squad. Jack underwent a series of squad trainings and travelled frequently to Hobart for additional training with the state coach.
Having first represented Tasmania at the 2002 Australian National Championships in Gosford, he went on to make his first Australian Team to contest the 2003 Trans-Tasman in Auckland. From these humble beginnings, Jack represented Australia 20 times competing at all levels of competition including Indo-Pacific Championships, Australian Youth Olympic Fesitval, World Age Championships, World Cups and World Championships. Jack has won 17 national championships titles and five Indo-Pacific Championship titles including Senior Men’s Individual Trampoline (2012) and Double-Mini Tramp (2008 and 2010). Jack’s first World Age Championships was in 2005 in Eindhoven, Netherlands and first World Championship was in 2009 in St. Petersburg, Russia. In 2010, Jack led the Australian Men’s Double-Mini Team in Metz, France, qualifying for the final round in 2nd place behind reigning World Champion Andre Lico (POR). Finishing in 5th place after the final round, Jack’s result remains a personal best, not only for himself but for Tasmania.
From 2011 onwards, Jack focused on Individual Trampoline and was a member of the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Shadow Squads for both the London and Rio Games. During a World Cup in Wuxi, China Jack suffered a fall from the Trampoline during the synchronised competition with partner, Ty Swadling. This fall unfortunately put his trampoline career on hold while he spent up to 8 months rehabilitating. Jack returned to competition in 2012, making his way back China for the final World Cup before the Olympic Games. Although not being selected for the Olympics, Jack went on to win the gold medal in the Men’s Trampoline event at the Indo-Pacific Championships in Sydney. Jack qualified for the Individual Men’s Team to contest the 2013 World Championships which were held in Sofia, Bulgaria, however, was side-lined from competition after he injured his foot during a pressure test at the acclimatisation camp in England. Jack bounced back from this set back and was selected to compete in the 2014 World Cup series in Portugal and Belarus, only to succumb to the similar injury, breaking his foot during a pressure test in Loule, Portugal. Just six-weeks out of the 2014 World Championships in Daytona Beach, USA; it was a race against the clock to rehabilitate and be physically fit to compete. With support and assistance from personal coach, Ben Kelly, in collaboration with National Coach, Brett Austine, the TIS and a team of sports medicine providers, Jack’s determination and resilience shone through as he not only recovered to compete but built to a peak performance to prepare for this benchmark event. Despite a small error in his first routine, Jack’s 2nd routine scored a personal best for his career at the World Championship level and remains one of his finest performances.
From 2015 to 2017 Jack continued to be a dominant force in the Australian Men’s Trampoline Team, competing at the 2015 World Championships in Odense, Denmark (Individual Trampoline and Team Captain) and the 2017 World Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria (Synchronised Trampoline and Individual Travelling reserve).
Jack performed a personal best at the final Olympic Games trial event at the 2016 Australian National Championships, qualifying in 1st position and finishing in 2nd place in the final round behind Blake Gaudry from South Australia. In his final event in Sofia, Jack finished in 8th position in the final of the Men’s Synchronised Trampoline with Black Rutherford from NSW; another personal best in the synchronised event for not only Jack but also his home state of Tasmania.
The decision to hang up the Trampoline shoes after 17 years of successful competition is a courageous decision, however, Jack has not only been a trail blazer for the sport of Gymnastics in Tasmania, but also a role model and leader in sportsmanship for Australia. Looking back over a successful career it is obvious to see that Jack’s impact and reputation reaches far beyond the Tasmanian Gymnastics community. It is not uncommon to hear Jack being referred to by his peers not only nationally but internationally as the Gentleman of Trampoline. Although retired from competition trampoline, Jack has announced his continual involvement through officiating. Not only is Jack involved in numerous working groups for judging and strategic planning, he is a FIG judge for all trampoline disciplines and is the current State Judging Coordinator for the GTAS Trampoline Gymsport Committee.
Gymnastics Tasmania would like to congratulate Jack and his team on a wonderful career and look forward to his contribution as an official for many more years to come.