The Main Stream

Aug 3, 2012 7:00 PM

Green Valley woman writes book about Father's Olympic dream

GREEN VALLEY - Dagmar Nissen Munn of Green Valley was the first kid in the world with a trampoline in her backyard. That's because her dad invented the trampoline.

Dagmar just finished documenting her father's lifelong journey to see his invention used in the Olympics. Her book is titled, "My Father's Dream of an Olympic Trampoline; Life Story of George Nissen, Inventor of the Trampoline."

Nissen was just 17 when he came up with what he first called a "bouncing rig." The idea was to help gymnasts and divers to jump higher so they could perfect their skills.

Nissen was a three-time Big Ten Tumbling Champion and a diver at the University of Iowa. He was also an inventor, a business man, and a world class promoter. "He had these notions for the perfect photo. He thought, 'I'd like to be on a trampoline with a kangaroo.' that was his logo," Said Dagmar.

Nissen put all of his skills into play when he created the Nissen Trampoline Company. He also formed an acrobatic team that traveled around the world promoting his product and his sport. The Trampoline became his passion and his livelihood, but he wouldn't rest until his invention made it to the world's biggest stage. "His dream was to get the trampoline as an Olympic event," Damar said.

His critics scoffed, saying Nissen's dream was more like a fantasy. "People would tell him oh, it won't be until the year 2000 that something like that would happen. And he said, ah hah, it happened in Sydney 2000," said Dagmar.

Nissen was 86 years old when his "bouncing rig" was included in the 2000 Summer Olympic Games. Despite his advancing age, Nissen was thrilled to fly to Australia to mark that magical moment. And his daughters says he was also proud to show the young athletes some of his moves on the trampoline. "He was floating, he was so happy. That was the pinnacle," said Dagmar.

Nissen died 10 years later, but his legacy is firmly planted in history and recorded in his daughter's new book.

"I knew this was his dream, and it was neat to see your own father have that kind of success."

To learn more about the man who invented the trampoline, or to purchase a copy of "My Father's Dream of an Olympic Trampoline" go to


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