Lake Norman & Mooresville

Jumping rope becomes popular as a competitive sport

A new club hopes to get kids jumping off the couch and into the ropes.

Anthonette Blake-Gonzalez, originally from south Florida, has been jumping rope competitively for 16 years. The 32-year-old posted a fifth-place finish one year in the world Double-Dutch title competition.

She coached a team called The Troopers, which consistently won the Florida state championship.

But when she moved to Charlotte about two years ago, Blake-Gonzalez was surprised that the sport of jumping rope had very little support. So she started a team here: J.U.M.P. X-treme.

The sport of jumping rope involves a complex series of tricks, acrobatics and choreography while simultaneously jumping rope.

Austin Bessire, a 10-year-old student at United Faith Christian Academy, has been in the program since the beginning. He is working on a round-off.

"He really likes it," said his father, Jason Bessire. "He practices all the time at home. There is a lot of room for boys to excel and I keep telling Austin that if he perfects this, he can really do something with it in college or later on."

Brooke Feinglass, a 13-year-old student at Alexander Graham Middle, moved to Charlotte from Miami in third grade. Before moving, she was an advanced jump-roper on a Miami team, but it wasn't until three months ago that she learned about J.U.M.P. X-treme and resumed the sport.

To watch her, it seems as though she has not missed a day of training. Feinglass cartwheels and front-handsprings through the Double Dutch ropes as though it were nothing.

"I competed in the Junior Olympics before, but I haven't done it in the longest time, so it's kind of interesting," said Feinglass. "I want to get to that point where I was and be able to feel comfortable with tricks and eventually compete again."

If the J.U.M.P. X-treme students are ready, they will compete in a preliminary competition in March. From there, they could make it to the World Competition, held in South Carolina in June. Blake-Gonzalez hopes to coach a high school-age team that would be eligible for scholarships in the World Jump Rope Competition.