Meet Jump Rope Extraordinaire Malia Everett
Sneakers bounce, hair billows, arms cross and swing while the ropes, barely discernible, cut the air at something near warp speed. We are talking some committed jump roping here. Meet Malia Everett, captain of Extreme Air of New Hampshire. She’s a national champion working hard to make the sport more visible. Thinking of something new and positive for yourself or the kids? Sign up for a workshop. Her team will show you the ropes. Hear the whoosh. Feel the rhythm. Down the road, a stronger heart, a feeling of teamwork or, maybe, just maybe, some Olympic gold.
- When I was 9 years old, I attended a workshop put on by Extreme Air of New Hampshire, and fell in love with the sport almost immediately.
- I am a junior at Exeter High School, and I will be 17 soon.
- I think, in general, my classmates think jump rope is cool, but I am always nervous to tell them. Jump rope is not a very well-known sport, and is frequently done in elementary school, so I’m always worried people will downplay its difficulty, or think I am weird for doing it.
- I know some people who have continued on to perform in Cirque du Soleil or for Disney, but I do not believe this is the right path for me. My main goal is to work in a lab doing research on improving treatments, and possibly even finding a cure for a chronic illness.
- In college, I am hoping to start a team of my own. I hope to draw more popularity and spread awareness to the sport as a whole.
- I hope that in the future jump rope can, in fact, become an Olympic sport. In order for that to happen, there needs to be more awareness about it to increase viewership because I know that is definitely a factor for many Olympic sports.
- One of the unique aspects of jump rope is that you root for and encourage your competitors.
- Unlike most sports, there aren’t any rivalries — everyone wants everyone else to do well and encourages them. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t any competition though; it is more individually based, which requires a lot of self-motivation and drive.
- If I had to choose which award is most meaningful to me, it would be a third-place medal for double Dutch single freestyle in 2019.
- I had been in the same group for around four or five years, and both of my groupmates were planning on 2019 being their last year on the team.
- It was an amazing way to celebrate all of our hard work, and we truly went out with a bang. On top of this, it was the last time I had the opportunity to compete in a double Dutch event before the coronavirus.
Jumping Into the Present
Young indigenous people jumping over vines for fun was witnessed by explorers as early as the 16th century, but the rope-skipping activity we now call “jump rope” is usually traced back to boys in the early 1800s (the sport was seen as a bit too racy for girls back then). Later, the smooth streets and sidewalks of cities became the testing ground for the games. The popularity among city kids established jump roping as serious child’s play and gave birth to many of the variations we know today, like double Dutch, where the jumper must time their skips to two long ropes being spun in different directions. It was professional boxers who saw the game for what it also was — an excellent cardio workout — and they adapted it into their own training routines.
Malia Everett says all this led to the formation of the National Double Dutch League in the 1970s followed by other competitive organizations, which eventually opened the sport up to places like Extreme Air of New Hampshire (extremeairnh.org). Everett posts images of herself and her team on Instagram (@malia.jumps), and can answer questions by DM.