Heber Athlete Flips and Twists His Way to Summer, Winter Olympics

Heber Athlete Flips and Twists His Way to Summer, Winter Olympics

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It seems quite a few Utah children now have dreams of being an Olympian. But one young man from Heber dreams of competing in both the summer and winter Olympic Games. And, he just might make it.

Look at him fly. Eighteen-year-old Austin Cummings of Heber is on the U.S. Senior National Trampoline Team -- the only man from Utah to compete at such an elite level.

"I think it's an adrenaline rush. I mean, in one routine I can flip like 26 times, do 26 flips in 10 bounces," Cummings says.

He recently placed fifth at nationals, against athletes much older and more experienced, and he dreams of making it to the Olympics.

"I want to be a summer Olympian and a winter Olympian," Cummings says.

Austin was spotted by recruiters from the sport-to-sport program in 1998. They figured his ability in the air made him a natural for freestyle aerials, if he could learn to ski.

The idea came as a surprise to 13-year-old power tumbler Austin Cummings.

"No, it never even came to my mind to do it," Cummings said in 1998.

"Austin did not know how to ski, and he wanted skiers and tumblers, and I told him, 'just lie Austin, tell them you can do it,'" says Bev Lloyd, Cummings' trampoline coach.

So Austin watched others and gave it a try.

"It took me a while to get the boots on and I couldn't put the skis on. They thought I'd been skiing with rental stuff. I just went up there, did my little half turn and did a flip and they were like, 'awesome,'" Cummings said.

Earlier this month, Cummings competed in the U.S. Aerial Team Selections, and on the second day, finished third.

He says he's learned how to put the two sports together.

"Last year was pretty tough. I think I did 500 doubles on snow and landed 12. But I'm finally figuring out how to land so I'm really happy, really happy," Cummings says.

And his parents are proud.

"I think it's pretty awesome that a kid can come up out of a little town like Heber and just normal family like anybody else and have those kinds of dreams and goals, and he's knocking on the door to be there," says Austin's father, Kyle Cummings.

So whether it's on skis or trampoline, Austin Cummings plans to jump, twist and flip his way to a dream.

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