Sports

Out of Africa: Local jump ropers compete at Worlds

(Top) Federal Way resident Brian Hsu, center, lifts one of his Hot Dog USA teammates during the South African International jump roping championships last month in Cape Town. The four-person team is competing in the double-dutch competition. (Below) Federal Way’s Jake Anderson and his freestyle doubles partner, Sarah Hartman, begin their routine in South Africa.  - Courtesy photos
(Top) Federal Way resident Brian Hsu, center, lifts one of his Hot Dog USA teammates during the South African International jump roping championships last month in Cape Town. The four-person team is competing in the double-dutch competition. (Below) Federal Way’s Jake Anderson and his freestyle doubles partner, Sarah Hartman, begin their routine in South Africa.
— image credit: Courtesy photos

Jump roping has taken Jake Anderson and Brian Hsu to a lot of different places, including Walt Disney World, Alaska and Texas, to name a few.

But neither one of the Federal Way residents ever dreamed jump roping would take them to Cape Town, South Africa. But the pair recently returned from the World Jump Roping Championships and the South African International in July.

The competition included jumpers from 15 countries, such as Japan, Belgium, Germany, France, Australia, Puerto Rico, Sweden, Denmark and Canada.

The World Championships were actually two competitions strung out over six days. Both Hsu and Anderson qualified to be on Team USA after strong performances at the USA Jump roping Trials in Ohio last January.

The pair, however, did not qualify to compete at the actual World Championships. Instead, they participated in the two-day South African International, which also included elite jumpers from across the globe.

Hsu, who graduated from high school in the spring, and Anderson, who is entering the ninth grade, competed in South Africa as part of Kirkland’s Hot Dog USA jump rope team.

At the South African International Meet, both Hsu and Anderson came home to Federal Way with gold, silver and bronze medals.

Hsu took first place in the overall team single rope category, second in the 30-second speed competition and third in the overall individual masters division. Anderson won gold in the four-person freestyle, silver in the pairs freestyle and third in double-dutch pairs.

“Jump rope is a passion for these athletes,” said Brian Hsu’s mother, Cindy. “They train all year with gymnastics and speed to keep up their endurance. They practice getting faster and faster as individual jumpers and as part of double-dutch teams. They create freestyle routines that include gymnastics in individual, pair, three-person and four-person events.”

Since winning their first national championship in 1983, Hot Dog USA has performed in over half of the states in the U.S., as well as throughout Ecuador, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Japan, Mexico, Costa Rica, and Belgium. Hot Dog USA Jump Rope Team is a member of the U.S.A. Jump Rope Federation, FISAC International, AAU Junior Olympics, and is currently petitioning the Olympic Organization.

The team has been featured on over 25 television shows that includes Good Morning America, ESPN, and Nickelodeon, and have performed as halftime entertainment for the Sonics, Seahawks, Mariners, and the University of Washington Huskies.

The team’s performances demonstrate single and double-dutch freestyle and speed jumping techniques that combine rope jumping skills with gymnastics.

Hsu and Anderson are joined on the Hot Dog USA team by another Federal Way resident, Lily Trang, who is entering seventh grade. All three participated in the National Jump Rope Championships at Disney World in Florida earlier this summer.

All three started jump roping for the Federal Way-based Leaping Leopards jump rope team, which was started back in 1997 by Lake Grove Elementary School PE teacher Dana Henry.

The kids’ interest was peaked the year before when a team of jump ropers performed at a school assembly. The team excelled for many years and sent numerous kids to the nationals. Henry decided not to coach last year to pursue other interests.

Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565, sports@fedwaymirror.com

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