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August 27, 2010

ULM senior nursing major returns from world competition

When Chad Rankin, a fourth-year nursing major at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, returns to campus this year he probably won’t skip out on his classes, but he may just skip to them.

Rankin recently returned from Loughborough, roughly two hours northwest of London, where he competed in the World Rope Skipping Championships, held in July every other year and sponsored by FISAC-IRSF (Federation Internationale De Saut A La Corde-International Rope Skipping Federation). Rankin and his five-member team ranked 13th internationally, while Team USA as a whole earned a third place designation. Organizations representing more than 365,000 rope skippers in 48 countries around the world competed.

Rankin routinely coaches a small team of seven out of Dallas, whose youngest member is only 13-years-old. Each competed with various U.S. teams at the World Championship.

Not bad for the 23-year-old native of Haughton, who so impressed Ellen DeGeneres show producers after his moves were captured in a YouTube video that he was flown to Los Angeles for a taping of the show and a memorable meeting with the daytime diva last year.

In fact, you might say Rankin is taking the sport to new heights. One part aerobic workout and and one part coordination-building, the footwork required to jump rope has made it a long-time popular form of training exercise for athletes, especially boxers and wrestlers. An added bonus is that the sport is unlikely to lead to knee injury because the jumps are absorbed by the balls of both feet rather than the heels, unlike running.

“Jump rope is an excellent cardio training tool,” agreed Rankin. “Approximately 10 minutes of jumping rope has the same affect as jogging for 30 minutes, not to mention it is cheaper than paying for a gym membership. You can do it anywhere, like in the dinner room, which is what I used to do when younger – my parents sure loved that!”

Rankin is leading a “Jump & Pump” aerobics class at the ULM Activity Center this fall, and he encouraged faculty, staff and students who are activity center members to try it out.

Not everyone can competitively jump rope, a sport that is both extreme athletics as well as an art form, and Rankin is happy to be a part of changing people’s mind about how challenging it can be. It doesn’t hurt either that his third-place win during national trial competition qualified him for the trip to Europe, first to compete in England, and later to tour Venice and Rome, where Team USA enjoyed sight-seeing after all their hard work.

Not a bad way to spend a summer break, after all.

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