ArtSports’ Chiacchia medals at Worlds

       Sam Chiacchia earned a bronze medal in the World Age Group (WAG) championships Nov. 16-19 at Metz, France.
       The 14-year-old trampoline specialist from the ArtSports gym in Holland Park joined with Ronald Jacobson III of California to take third place in the boys' 13-14 synchro event (in which pairs perform simultaneous, planned routines on side-by-side trampolines).
       It was the first medal ever won by a youth who trains at ArtSports, according to owner Mike Zapp. “He's third best in the world,” Zapp exulted. He expressed the view that Chiacchia will continue to improve as he grows and adds weight, allowing him to go higher on his jumps.
       According to Zapp, Chiacchia wrote on his Internet Facebook page afterward that it had been “life-changing” to stand on the podium and see the American flag hoisted.
       The other ArtSports competitor at Metz, Kristen Bowman, just missed out on a medal herself, taking fourth place in the girls 15-16 double mini-trampoline. Last year, in the same event, she had not made it past the qualifying round. “We're pretty excited,” Zapp said. “She's got a good head on her shoulders. She's gotten pretty tough.”
       Chiacchia, who had placed fifth in double-mini in last year's WAG event in St. Petersburg, Russia, also made the U.S. team this year in the individual and double-mini trampoline competition. He just missed making the double-mini finals and was disqualified in the individual trampoline because he touched a side pad on one of his jumps, Zapp said.
       He also praised the ArtSports coach, Richard “Tex” Womack, who accompanied the two athletes to the French event and was named an assistant to the U.S. team this year.

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