Eight years ago, San Diego native Nicole Ahsinger moved to Lafayette at the age of 15, to train as a trampolinist.
"It was a huge culture shock," Ahsinger explained. "I mean, everything was completely different. From having a huge family to living with 2 girls in an apartment."
The reason for the cross country move was to work with world-renowned trampoline coach Dmitri Poliaroush.
"Of course all my life I was in trampoline. From 6 years old, I was (an) athlete," Poliaroush said. "But I was only worried about myself (then). With age, I guess, you feel for other people."
Dmitri is originally from the country of Belarus. He moved to Lafayette in 1998, after receiving an opportunity to work at Trampoline and Tumbling Express from then-owner Tara Guidry.
"She invited me over to Lafayette and offered me a job," Poliaroush said. "I came in '97 to look around, (to see) if I liked Lafayette. I ended up falling in love with Lafayette, with the people. Friendly people, great food, atmosphere."
Dmitri trained at the gym for the 2000 and 2004 Olympics, which were the first to include trampoline as a sport. Now, as the owner of T&T Express, he's sent 6 Americans to the summer games.
"He is definitely always there," Alexi Shostak explained. "He's very consistent with himself. You can always rely on him to be there. I don't think I know anyone who loves this sports more than him."
This year, all 3 USA Trampolinist in Tokyo will hail from T&T Express. Alexi Shostak is the lone participant for Men's, Nicole Ahsinger is the Women's representative, and Sarah Webster is the Women's alternate. For Ahsinger, this is her 2nd straight Olympic games.
"I'm just so proud of myself and I'm proud of my teammates," Ahsinger glowingly said. "I'm proud of Lafayette and T&T Express. How we were able to create so many good athletes, and now we're going to Tokyo. It's so amazing."
The Women's Trampoline competition starts Thursday at 11 pm, and will air partially on CNBC. The Men's event will take place Friday at 11 pm, also on CNBC. You can stream both events on the NBCSports app.
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