Photograph by Mary Ellen Mark
Photo Editor Kathryn McCarver
Air Apparent: Parilla photographed at Shoreline Aquatic Park in Long Beach, California, May 10.
Nineteen‑year‑old Jennifer Parilla's daredevil streak has landed her the chance to make Olympic history.
When Jennifer Parilla was 4, she began bouncing off the walls of her Orange County, California, house. "We had this mini‑trampoline," recalls her father, Paul Parilla. "Jennifer would sprint down the hall, spring off it and flip head first onto her bed." Concerned the home acrobatics might end in injury, her parents enrolled her in trampoline class at a nearby gym. These days, they can't believe how high their daughter has soared. At 19, she will be the youngest trampoline gymnast (and the only American) competing in the sport's Olympic debut.
When not hurtling through space, she likes to study the stars. "I'm a Capricorn," says Parilla, who plans to apply to college after the Olympics. "If you put a goat in front of a glacier, he'll butt his way through it. That's like me. I see a challenge and I get right through it."