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Rope Skipping Canada hosts national championship in Waterloo

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Hundreds of Canada’s best jumpers were in Waterloo this weekend for Rope Skipping Canada’s national championships.

Wilfrid Laurier University’s Athletic Complex hosted 312 athletes from British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, and Nova Scotia.

The competitions focused on various disciplines including speed, precision, and creativity.

"We run provincial tournaments in each of the provinces," Rope Skipping Canada’s chair Carly Simpson explained on Sunday. "They do the same events at the provincial level and five or four [people], depending on their gender and age category, quality to come to the nationals tournament and they compete against the other provinces."

Simpson said the competitors are often good friends, and making it to nationals gives them a chance to catch up with people they haven’t seen for a while, and show off new tricks that they’ve learned.

"Jump rope is a very unique community. I think part of it might be because we’re still a fairly small sport. We’re not at the Olympic level yet. There aren’t financial stakes on the line, which maybe comes into play when we get more competition. The culture of jump rope is sharing. We hold workshops, we go down to the U.S. and learn from their athletes, we hold workshops for other clubs in Canada and teach them what we know. We really want anyone to become the best that they can be. So it’s a really sweet sport, actually."

Several people competing on Sunday said they began getting into jump rope after being involved in other competitive sports.

"When I was younger I used to play hockey and then my mom stumbled upon a flier and she was like, 'Oh, we’ll try it. I’ll sign my kids up.' So both me and my sister tried out for the team local to Parry Sound in Ontario. And from there, I just stuck with it," Stephanie Weeks from Hamilton’s Jumpstations club told CTV news.

"One of my best friends was in the Lincoln Leapers recreational program, and she talked about it," fellow Jumpstations competitor Sydney Nicholls said. "I thought it was really interesting so I joined in. We started when we were six and never looked back."

Masters of Freestyle

Sunday’s competitions focused on freestyle jumping, where competitors craft a routine to music and show off incredible feats of athleticism and coordination.

Participants flipped across the Wilfrid Laurier Athletic Complex floor to a roar of cheers from the crowd.

For some competitors, like Aislyn and Lachlan Marquis from KW Jump Rope, Sunday was a family affair.

"My older sister does it, both my parents are judges, my mom’s in the technical committee. They’re always involved," Aislyn said.

The brother and sister said it is a sport that can require a lot of patience.
“If you mess up a lot, you have to just keep trying over and over until you can get it right,” Lachlan explained. “Everyone makes mistakes.”

"It’s either hit or miss," Aislyn elaborated. "You never know how it’s going to go because there are a couple routines where people just completely wipe out or you’ll miss a flip. As long as you just get back up and just keep a smile on your face, you’re good."

For many of the competitors, the sport has allowed them to make new lifelong friends.

"I think this is the one sport where competitors aren’t really competitors," Jumpstations member Jennifer Kirkland said. "They’re people you’re competing against, but they’re still your friends and you’re still cheering them on and hoping that they do the best that they possibly can."

"It’s just a great community. Everyone is so supportive of each other. Everyone’s just a big family that’s super supportive," Owen Lucas of SkipTime Calgary said.

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