When Joseph Edney first started jumping rope with the Triangle’s Bouncing Bulldogs jump rope team, he didn’t expect to end up at the Olympics. He was only 8 years old at the time.
But Edney, now a recent graduate of N.C. State University, will have that opportunity.
Edney and Ted Lehman, a fellow Bulldog, will join 11 other jump ropers from around the world in London on Saturday.
The “Get Tricky” team of jump ropers will perform at halftime for basketball games during the Olympics — including some of the final rounds.
Get Tricky has 13 members: four Americans, five Britons, three Belgians and one Brazilian. The team will meet Saturday and have six days to prepare a routine, Edney said.
“Choreography is obviously a challenge because of the distance,” he said. “But it’s such an experienced group that we shouldn’t have any problem putting it all together.”
One thing Edney said he hopes to accomplish during the Olympics is to increase the visibility of jump rope as a sport. To help with this, the team has set up a Facebook page that he said they plan to update as they train and perform.
“This is a big opportunity, and we want to try to share it as much as we can,” Edney said.
The push for visibility is a big part of the Bouncing Bulldogs’ mantra — the team Edney and Lehman grew up on and that Edney is currently an assistant coach for.
Head coach and founder Ray Fredrick Jr. said the promotion of jump rope to new countries is highly important to him.
As well as Edney and Lehman, Fredrick said their team will also be represented at the Olympics through Megan Hodge, a U.S. volleyball player and Bulldog alumnus.
Fredrick said the Bulldogs have performed in 10 different countries around the world.
“We performed at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing,” he said. “(In) the U.K., we had a golden opportunity to perform in front of the Buckingham Palace.”
Fredrick said they are also the only team to win the USA Jump Rope Nationals consecutively, from 2004 to 2010.
For the last two years, the Bulldogs have competed in the World Jump Rope Championship, an international tournament held in the U.S., rather than the USA Jump Rope Nationals.
“A lot of people wonder why Bouncing Bulldogs chose not to do the national championship for the last two years,” Fredrick said.
“We knew in order for the sport to grow globally, we were one of the teams that everybody would look to, so we made that choice.”
Shaun Hamilton, World Jump Rope chair, said the tournament just finished its second year and had close to 400 competitors this year.
He said the Bulldogs were one of the top teams both years.
“They took first, second and third in some categories,” Hamilton said. “I think they were the only team that did that this year.”
In total, the Bouncing Bulldogs took home 207 medals from the World Jump Rope Championship: 81 gold, 48 silver and 40 bronze.
Team manager Charryse Fredrick said they have a Chapel Hill facility in Ram’s Plaza.
She said the Bulldogs’ competitive team is selected from the jump rope classes they teach.
“The team itself has over 100 members,” she said. “We took about 68 to the competition.”
She said the team typically has younger kids, since they recruit for it from their classes.
Charryse Fredrick said they teach children as young as 5 to jump rope. The competitive team, she said, usually chooses jumpers ages 7 and up.
“There’s no age cap in jump rope,” she said. “As long as you’re able to do the training, you can pretty much jump to any age.”
Charryse Fredrick said the summer camps would begin again and be open for registration July 23.
“I don’t believe any of the weeks are full at this point,” she said.
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