Watching sports is one the most popular forms of entertainment, and the Olympic Games is a perfect thing to keep up with if you love the excitement of competition. People are also constantly searching for something new and exciting to discover, so why not add a never-before-seen sport to the Olympic Games that will resolve this problem? Competitive jump rope is an incredibly creative sport that is guaranteed to take your breath away. The only problem is, most people have absolutely no knowledge about this sport, which is why it desperately needs to be exposed to the world by becoming an Olympic event.
The world is missing out on something that has the potential to be one of the next best forms of entertainment and is assured to get people excited, especially when it's viewed at first sight. So how exactly does competitive jump rope work, and what makes me think it is so special to be considered being put into the Olympic Games? Well, let me tell you.
What's the big problem?
From my personal experience as a competitive jump roper, I can confirm that virtually no one knows what competitive jump rope even is. For instance, every single time that I have told someone that I jump rope, their immediate response to what I tell them is nowhere near as exaggerated as when I actually demonstrate my jump rope abilities to them.
The severe unawareness of what competitive jump rope actually involves is mostly caused by two problems: The first and the probably most obvious reason is that it's not a very popular sport. In the United States alone, there are only about 80 different jump rope teams nationwide, while there are several thousand different sports teams in the U.S. of the different events that are included in the Olympic Games. The second (and also most annoying) problem is that the only first-hand experience that most people have with jump rope is either the jump roping they did as a kid on the school playground, or the skills that are involved in cross-fit jump rope.
Although this problem is quite annoying to competitive jump ropers, the fact that it is so unknown is almost a good thing and makes it more unique than it already is. Because of the lack of knowledge and understanding that the world has towards competitive jump rope, the astonishing and almost seemingly impossible tricks that are executed in the sport are more than likely to captivate a person's attention if they were to watch it in the Olympic Games.
How does it compare to other Olympic sports?
Although competitive jump rope is so unique and unusual, compared to any other sport that you may have ever seen, there are some sports in the Olympics that are actually very similar to the way competitive jump rope is scored.
From my perspective, gymnastics seems to have the most similar characteristics to jump rope when it comes to the way each sport competes in freestyle routines. For example, like most other sports, each sport is associated with a variety of different national and international competitions. Some examples of different jump rope organizations on the national level include USA Jump Rope and AAU Jump Rope, and on the international level are The World Jump Rope Federation (WJRF), and The International Rope Skipping Federation (FISAC-IRSF). some examples of national gymnastic organizations include USA Gymnastics and NCAA Gymnastics (college organization), and an international organization is the Federation Internationale de Gymnastique (FIG), also known as the International Federation of Gymnastics (IFG). One of the biggest problems, though, is that while the FIG is the head governing body of competitive gymnastics internationally, competitive jump rope has yet to decide on which organization will be the main representative organization of the sport, which so far has been a major roadblock for jump rope to becoming an Olympic sport.
Although the rules and scoring for competitive gymnastics and competitive jump rope are not exactly the same, they are very similar in general. The biggest similarity between the two sports is that groups or individuals in each of the different events that are executed are given points based on difficulty/content and execution/presentation out of a maximum possible score. In jump rope, the maximum possible score for all freestyle events is out of 10 points (although it is nearly impossible to score a perfect 10), while in gymnastics, the maximum score for most events is a 16.5.
Another similarity between the two sports is that they are both composed of different events. In competitive jump rope, there are three different basic freestyle events that can be further categorized into more specific events: single rope, double dutch, and Chinese wheel. Some of the basic events in gymnastics include the vault, uneven bars, the balance beam, pommel horse, rings, parallel bars, horizontal bar, and floor exercises. Like any other competitive sport, each event for each of the two sports is divided between male and female. The only exception for this is that in jump rope, genders can be combined in group events and are separate as a third "open" category.
The only category in competitive jump rope that is uncomparable to gymnastics is speed and power. In all speed events, groups or individuals are timed from anywhere between 30 seconds to 3 minutes and must try to reach the highest score they possibly can.
I may see gymnastic as being the most similar to competitive jump rope, but I could probably go on and probably even write a book about how competitive jump rope compares to many of the other sports competed in the Olympics. As one can see, the fact that the two sports have several similarities serves as a good explanation of why competitive jump rope would be a perfect addition to this world-wide event.
What is competitive jump rope anyway?
So now that you probably get the point that jump rope is very similar to gymnastics, it's time to go into further detail and explain the basics of different jump rope tricks and skill levels.
First off, there are three different categories of jump rope tricks. This first category, and my personal favorite, is rope manipulation. This is also the category where you can be the most creative, which means it's also very hard to understand unless you actually see it. Some of the basic rope manipulation tricks include crosses, side swings, rope releases, wraps, etc. These are only a few of probably hundreds of tricks that are possible with rope manipulation.
The second category is multiples. This is where the jump rope must pass around your body more than once. The most basic multiple is the double under, where the rope makes two revolutions around your body. But it doesn't stop there. Other multiples include triple, quadruple, and sometimes even quintuples unders. Very rarely you will see a person do straight multiple unders; rather, multiples are combined with simple rope manipulation skills in order to score higher content in competition.
The third and my personal least favorite category is power. This is basically where gymnastics and body displacement is incorporated. Usually, the hardest power tricks you will see include round offs, back flips, front flips; you can really do any flip, as long as you are able to incorporate the rope in some way. For the people who can't do flips, some of the basic power skills are frogs/donkey kicks (a handstand), push-ups, splits, and crabs (where one leg is stuck out and one leg is bent while you are almost sitting on the floor – this one's a real shin-killer). And remember, any of these skills can be combined with multiples and/or rope manipulation.
All of these types of tricks can be incorporated into all the different types of jump rope freestyle events: single rope, where an individual has one rope; double dutch, where two people are spinning two ropes at opposite times with at least one person jumping inside; and Chinese wheel, where two people each have a rope, and each person holds on of the other person's handles and spins the ropes at opposite times.
The other major category that is competed in jump rope that I haven't really gone into full detail about yet is speed and power. In speed events, a person must jump as fast as they possibly can in a "jogging step" inside the rope within a certain time limit. In competition, only the right foot is counted when it touches the floor, or else counting both feet would be nearly impossible to score since the person is going so fast. Speed can be done with a single speed rope where an individual must turn their own rope and jump as fast as they can, or it can be done in double dutch, where two people are turning the two ropes the while one person jumps speed in the middle. Single speed ropes are often made of wire for maximum speed. And yes, if you miss, it hurts. A lot. The time limits used depend on the particular speed event, but the times most commonly used per person are 30 seconds, 45 seconds, 60 seconds, or 3 minutes.
Another type of "speed" event that is completed is double unders. The only two events that you will usually see in competition are one person doing as many double unders as they can in 30 seconds, or two people each doing doulbe unders for 30 seconds each one at a time.
And finally, the most common "power" event competed it consecutive triple unders. This event is not timed, rather people compete to see who can do the most triple unders without missing. Depending on how many a person does, it can take a long time.
On a personal level...
Now, aside to the technical reasons to why jump rope should be an Olympic sports, one of the most important reasons that I and probably every single jump roper out there personally believes that jump rope should become an Olympic sport is because, just like any other sport, there is an excessive amount of time, hard work, dedication, and sacrifice that is required in order to be able to be successful.
The world needs to be exposed to something that is more than a sport. It's a unique talent that the only fraction of a percent of people in the world has the ability to do, and it can take several years for a person to be able to do certain tricks or reach a certain score.
I want the world to experience the exhilaration and excitement that I felt when I first saw some of the greatest jump ropers in the nation and the world perform. I want other people to be inspired and pick up a jump rope themselves, start their own teams, and teach other people. This is one of the biggest reasons why us competitive jump ropers want to be able to become a part of the Olympic Games. Exposing it to the world in such a big way will revolutionize the sport and help it grow more than ever before.