Emily Buckley, editor in chief
Thomas Theobald came to Highpoint Tumbling and Gymnastics at the Sports Academy 19 years ago for an opportunity to utilize the equipment and “play around on the trampolines.” He later became a coach and is now the manager of the program that serves approximately 400 students each session.
The focus at Highpoint is trampoline training. The Highpoint junior and senior competitive teams participate in state and national tumbling and trampoline events, but the program includes toddler- to university-level students being trained in gymnastics, tumbling, and trampoline by a group of about 30 skilled coaches.
“Our teams compete around the county,” Thomas said. “Our program is designed for all of our students to be able to work through it and join the competitive team, if they desire.” Highpoint teams have produced two national champions in the last 10 years.
Over the holiday break, while the gym was closed, the Sports Academy, which owns Highpoint, invested about $50,000 into updated equipment for the facility. Thomas says the next phase is to add a parkour set up, so athletes can participate and train for American Ninja Warrior events.
In addition to his full-time job at Highpoint, Thomas spends about three weekends a month performing across the country with Flippenout, a team of professional and Olympic athletes from across the United States who specialize in trampoline demonstrations, flying as high as 25 feet above the ground in single, double, and triple flips, often on skis and snowboards. Flippenout performs about 50 shows a year, including NFL, NBA, and NCAA halftime shows, corporate events and fairs and festivals around the world.
“When I first started doing this kind of work, I was amazed that I could make money jumping on trampolines,” Thomas said. “Now I have made a career of it.”
Between all this, Thomas and his wife, Jeni, who reside in Richmond, are the parents of four girls, who also enjoy jumping and tumbling.