TRAMPOLINING: Little could Jarrod Spear have known that bouncing on his backyard trampoline as a six-year-old would give rise to such a stellar sporting career.
By age nine, he was competing at his first national championships and two years later he represented Australia for the first time in a Trans-Tasman event.
Now 28, the Rockhampton trampolinist is preparing for his fifth open world championships in Sofia, Bulgaria.
Fellow Victoria Park Gymnastic and Trampoline Club member Britney Glazebrook has been selected to represent Australia at the world age group competition, also in Sofia, from November 16 to 19.
Spear jets out this weekend for a training camp in Bulgaria before the international event starts on November 9.
Spear, who has competed on the world stage since he was 12, said he was always proud and excited to represent his country.
"This is as special as the first,” he said, reflecting on his numerous Australian honours.
"We're allowed to take four athletes and there were six or seven vying for the team so it was great to be selected. I've been working towards this all year.
"I love going to the world championships because it's the best of the best, and each one has been better than the last.”
Spear will compete in the double mini trampoline and has a clear goal in Bulgaria.
"This year it's a teams event. I compete individually but my scores also go to the team total and then there's a teams final.
"My world championship performances haven't been what I know I can do at my best. This time what I really want is to do my passes the way I know I can do them.
"My goal is to do everything I can to make those passes perfect and then hopefully lead Australia into the final.
"If I can do a pass that helps put us on the podium that would be awesome.”
Spear said he was happy to be one of the more senior members in the Australian team and was always happy to share his extensive knowledge and experience with the younger members.
Trampolining has taken Spear around the world.
"I've seen a lot of the world and I've been to a lot of places I might not have ever gone otherwise.
"It's great to travel, meet new people and experience a lot of different cultures.
"I've also made lifelong friends through the sport.”
Spear's success is helping inspire and motivate younger members at Victoria Park, the club where he has plied his trade for 20-plus years.
His name is spelled out in large green and gold letters on the clubhouse wall and whenever a club member achieves something special in their training they add a gold star to it.
"If I'm there and I see that I will give them a high five.
"It's the club's way of supporting me and it makes sure that I train hard and I'd like to think it encourages the other athletes to train hard as well,” he said.