Thomas Cunningham of the Black Widow Rope Spinners is headed off to his second World Jump Rope championship, this time in Orlando, Fla. Emanuel Sequeira/Western News

Black Widows jump to Worlds, again

Cathy and Thomas Cunningham are making their second trip to the World Jump Rope championships

Cathy and Thomas Cunningham are jumping into the world championship again.

The Black Widow rope spinners are making their second trip to the World Jump Rope Championship having competed in Sweden last year. The 10-day championship takes place in Orlando, Fla. at the end of June. The Cunningham’s will be joined by one athlete from Nelson and one from Abbotsford.

Cathy said the previous experience will help, especially because World Jump Rope Championship is set up different from competitions they are used to. Rope spinners perform their four freestyle routines without music and among a group until reaching the next stage, where they then have music.

So are there medal hopes? For Cathy, she said no as she competes in an open age group against skilled spinners as much as 20 years younger.

“You have to be at a very high level,” said Cathy, who won two bronze medals last year competing in Portugal.

Thomas has medal expectations, with his best event being the triple unders. Cathy said the skill level is amazing, especially when some spinners bring gymnastics into the mix.

The most recent event for the Black Widow Rope Spinners was Rope Skipping Canada National Championships in Kingston, Ont. over the Victoria Day long weekend.

Related: Rope jumpers entertain crowd with skill

Thomas won gold in his age group (18 to 29), which featured eight athletes. That is the highest number to compete in that group. Thomas won gold in the 30-second speed event and first in freestyle and second in the three-minute speed and third in triple unders. Thomas also became the top Canadian male from points earned in each event. Cathy was the oldest by 15 years competing in the 30-plus age group that had nine competitors, which was the most as well. Cathy was fifth in the 30-second speed, fourth in the three-minute speed and second in her freestyle routine. She picked up fourth in her age group.

“The highlight was coming second in freestyle, and coming out ahead of the much younger jumpers,” said Cathy, who also is the coach of the Black Widow team. “My routine was definitely not as difficult, however, I earned top creativity marks which boosted my score and I only had one small miss.”

At the end of April in Abbotsford, the Black Widow Ropers spinners competed at the provincial championships.

It was a successful championship for the Black Widows, who had all of its jumpers place in one or more events. In the 18 to 29 age group, Izzy Landry, Melissa Little and Mikella Biggs won overall medals and Thomas Cunningham took second overall. A few first-year Black Widows took first and second.

“Our best event was the individual freestyle, where our jumpers scored high because they made few misses on the ropes,” said the Black Widow coach. “Many of our jumpers did their routines clean. For every miss, you have a .75 deduction so if you have a number of misses it can really bring your score down.”

The rope spinners can be seen live during Peach Fest. They will be performing six shows with spinners from all over B.C.



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The Black Widow Rope Spinners performed well at the provincial championships in April returning home with a few medals. Submitted photo

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