Calgary rope skipping athletes pushing for more recognition

Calgary rope skipping athletes pushing for more recognition

By MARY GETANEH Star Metro Calgary
Tues., August 7, 2018

CALGARY—Double-Dutchers are doubling down on their efforts to get their competitive sport more recognition with the hopes that they’ll one day see jump rope in the Olympics.

It’s a hard sport, that’s what 13-year-old Halle Borden wants people to understand.

“It does (frustrate me) because they just don’t know what skipping is and what it means to do it properly,” said the Borden who has been pursuing the sport competitively for five years now.

Borden is a member of the newly formed, Calgary Skip Squad, who are hoping to challenge the notion that jump rope is a playground game. She has members on her team who do handstands and back-flips inside a double Dutch.

“It’s not a common sport, but it’s hard sport,” said Borden. “I’d love to see it at the Olympics and to compete there, it definitely deserves a spot.”

The Skip Squad has 15 competitive athletes, starting as young as seven year sold.

Head coach, Carla Hill, said funding and awareness are the two biggest barriers the jump rope teams face.

“I really wish people were more aware … because then there would be more participation, more opportunities for athletes and more funding,” said Hill. “I’d like to see them get have the opportunities I didn’t have when I was in the sport competing really competitive. I’d like to see them be able to compete at the highest level available to them.”

Hill said on the international level, the two main rope-skipping organizations are planning to team up to try and bring the sport to the Olympics.  The last time jump rope was demonstrated for a spot in the Olympics was in 1996, Hill said they hope to demonstrate it again for the 2020 Olympics.

“We can come forward and bring it to the Olympic board so that they can see it, recognize it and see that it is worthy of being in the Olympics,” said Hill.

“(Jumping rope) has changed a lot in the way the competition is run, and I think that if it was demoed in the another Olympics, maybe they’d see it as something they could incorporate into the Olympics.”

Borden’s mother, Ché Borden, is on the board of Rope Skipping Alberta and said there has been a push to get the sport officially recognized by provincial and federal agencies.

“(Jump rope) is huge in the States and big in European and Asian countries, but we want it to be bigger in Canada,” said Ché.

“In the last couple years, it’s been growing more and more. Rope Skipping Alberta is celebrating their 30th anniversary this year, so it’s been around a long time and it just seems to be gaining more visibility.”

Ché said she hopes with more awareness the sport is seen as a “real” sport.

“It’s just being recognized as a real true sport, it’s not a playground sport,” said Ché. “These athletes work incredibly hard to compete, and they take it really seriously.”

Mary Getaneh is a Calgary-based reporter covering arts, culture and diversity. Follow her on Twitter: @marygetaneh
Source: The StarMetro Calgary