Skipping rope has history that dates centuries back. It is supposed to have been derived from the rope that Judas Iscariot hanged himself with after his betrayal of Jesus Christ. Skipping started in the villages of Sussex as well as Cambridge and is still practised every Good Friday in the Sussex village of Alciston.
Although it is mainly practised for fun or to lose weight, skipping rope also takes place as a competitive event worldwide. Competitors can participate in both individual and team events; event range from freestyle or speed orientated. In freestyle events, a certain amount of time is given for athletes to perform various routines which are often done along to music. In speed orientated events, athletes must do as many jumps as they can within an allotted time frame- the world record is currently one hundred and eighty eight skip rope jumps for the time frame of thirty seconds.
Of the skip rope events that have taken place in the last few years, the 2004 event was held in Brisbane, Australia while the 2006 edition took place in Toronto, Canada. Those two events were known as the World Jump Rope Championships; the 4th Asian Jump Rope Skipping Championships was held at the Talkatora Indoor Stadium in New Delhi India on the 9th of February 2007. Skipping rope competitions are generally not held as single events- they are often grouped with talent shows, funfairs or similar activities.
In the United States of America, the largest organized skipping rope federation is the USAJR (USA Jump Rope). Their teams travel across the country, competing in skipping rope events and attending workshops. The USAJR also has an all-star team which tries to promote the sport.
As an exercise, although it seems not as strenuous as say a sport like football, skipping rope can still help those looking to become healthy lose weight. A small ten-minute workout using the skipping rope is equivalent to running an eight minute mile. Skipping rope helps work the shoulders and arms, as well as help hand-eye coordination. It also helps to avoid the knee damage that is associated with running, and some of the most famous boxers of the modern era use it to prepare for fights and get into strong physical shape.
As skipping is practised all over the world, records have been set and reset many times involving it. On October 12th, 1986 it was planned that 50,000 children and adults would skip rope for thirty seconds at 335 schools in Holland, in an attempt to enter the Guinness Book of World Records.