Shelby Lum / Lantern photographer
For an Ohio State first-year in physics, Tori Boggs knows a lot about jumping rope.
Boggs is a nine-time world rope skipping champion and a two-time world record holder, the current captain of both Jump Company USA and the U.S. National Jump Rope team, and a member of the USA All-Star Ambassador Jump Rope team.
“It’s one of those things where you absolutely have to see jump rope to believe it and you just get hooked at the first sight,” Boggs said.
Jumping rope is nothing new to Boggs, a Parkersburg, W.Va., native. The 20-year-old has been involved in the sport since she was 5 when she walked into a jump roping event at the Junior Olympic tournament where her brother was participating in a Tae Kwon Do competition.
“She went into a gym where they were jumping rope and saw it and didn’t want to leave,” said her mother and jump rope coach, Rochelle Boggs. The mother-daughter pair stumbled upon an advertisement in their local newspaper the following week for tryouts and have never looked back.
“She’s my coach now, so we’ve grown in the sport together,” Tori Boggs said.
But Tori Boggs is the only person to her knowledge on OSU’s campus who participates in competitive rope skipping, something that means she spends many weekends traveling to perform and compete with her various teams. OSU does not provide any resources for her jump roping, but she said she is “working on” getting jump roping to the point where it is associated with the university.
Last year, Tori Boggs spent the summer as part of a circus. She said she might want to pursue performing as a career.
“I did a holiday tour with “Cirque Dreams” so it was a national tour, so I toured for a few months and we went around and I jumped rope in the circus,” she said. “I’m (also) employed by Cirque de Soleil for special events.
“Ultimately I want to be on a Cirque de Soleil tour.”
Until that point, Tori Boggs said she has dreams of bettering the sport of rope skipping.
“I’m going to switch to engineering so I can actually apply physics, but basically my motivation for (pursuing a degree) is that I love jump rope so much, my body knows exactly what I’m doing, my muscles know what they’re doing, but I don’t know how to explain it,” Boggs said. “So I want to look at the forces that jump rope places on our body. I want to be able to design a better handle for jumpers, I want to be able to design better shoes and understanding the surfaces that we jump on, like how does that affect our body?”
She said currently she is involved with the biomechanics lab at the Wexner Medical Center where she does tricks and uses technology to show her where the forces on her joints are located.
“I want to be able to develop better products and improve training methods, and then I’m pre-med, too, so maybe I can go to med school and use that. I don’t know, there’s a lot of options,” Tori Boggs said.
With the inaugural 2013 Arnold Classic jump rope competition happening this weekend, she has been working overtime to recruit novice jumpers to register.
“I’ve seen people just playing around with the ropes so I always give them Arnold papers and talk to them about jump rope,” she said.
The competition is being co-chaired by Rochelle Boggs, and it will have three different competitive categories, encompassing all age groups and skill levels from those who have never jumped before to professionals like Tori Boggs. Other professional jump ropers are excited about the opportunities the weekend may bring.
“Any sort of way that we can get the public to view the sport is really exciting,” said Jen Evans, a grand national champion and three-time world medalist who will be attending OSU next year to work on a doctorate of physical therapy. Evans is a Strongville, Ohio, native and currently attends Baldwin Wallace University in Berea, Ohio.
“It’s really cool because I know that people from Columbus will be there and I’m hoping that it increases the awareness of jump rope,” Evans said. Rochelle Boggs said the new competition will fit in at the Arnold well.
“The cool thing is it’s kind of like a natural progression to see jump rope get to the Arnold because Arnold is all about fitness and movement,” she said.
The Arnold Jump Rope Fitness Competition will be held Saturday and Sunday at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.