Double Dutch Jump Rope

2 minutes

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Double Dutch is a type of jump rope game played with two oscillating ropes. The jumper stands between these ropes while two friends spin.  The ropes spin in opposite directions, making it much more difficult than the single string variety. While the beginnings of the game are unknown, its origins have been traced back to the ancient Phoenicians, Egyptians and Chinese. It is believed that the Dutch settlers then brought Double Dutch to New York City.

Double Dutch has always been a popular game among children, especially in cities. However, it did not develop into a true sport until the 1970s. In 1973, a New York City detective named David A. Walker and his partner Ulysses Williams decided to revive the game. They organized the first Double Dutch tournament on February 14th, 1974 for over 600 fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth grade students.  Walker went on to found the American Double Dutch League (ADDL). In 1992, Walker resigned as the organization's president, and then formed the International Double Dutch Federation, the National Double Dutch League and the Dynamic Diplomats of Double Dutch team.

Over the past 40 years, Double Dutch has truly grown into an international sport. People from all over the world are playing the game and competing in tournaments. The sport has developed to be more than just jumping too. There are different styles and categories to compete in, such as singles, doubles, fusion and speed. Competitions are often divided into novice and advanced levels. Fusion Double Dutch is often the most crowd-pleasing; as teams of 4-6 people perform elaborate Double Dutch routines to music.

The most famous Double Dutch competition is the Double Dutch Holiday Classic, held each year at the iconic Apollo Theatre in Harlem. This tournament is world famous and attracts Double Dutchers from all over the U.S., Europe, and even Japan! Outside of the competitive arena, Double Dutch remains a popular pastime among American youth. Even First Lady Michelle Obama has been known to jump Double Dutch from time to time!  Check it out:

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Ani Kington Ani Kington

Originally from Columbus, Ohio, Ani is a fan of exploring new places through photography and the local cuisine. After earning her BFA in photography from NYU and gaining communications experience at International Planned Parenthood Federation, she joined InterExchange in 2012, and worked as the Marketing Producer until 2016.

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