A Roanoke Sophomore Learns The Ropes

Kirby Davis, second from right, competes in jump rope worldwide.

Kirby Davis, second from right, competes in jump rope worldwide.

Kirby Davis earns worldwide recognition jump roping on Team USA

Kirby Davis ’12 had no idea that a jump rope club in elementary school could one day take her all the way to South Africa, not to mention Prague, the Czech Republic, Germany, Canada and a Greek island. How has Davis had the opportunity to travel from country to country? This Maroon competes at the regional, national and international level of competition jump rope. She has received over 20 gold medals doing so in different competitions; her double dutch team was the national champion in June 2007 and came in second place in June of 2008.

While at Roanoke, Davis continues to practice whether she is in the Bast Center, the Alumni Gym, the Racquetball courts or even her dorm. She keeps in touch with her team coach and she knows it is necessary to stay in shape. At Davis’s level of competition, it seems an off-season is a hard thing to find.

“My biggest accomplishment was in the summer of 2008. We came in second at the South African International Competition; the Belgian team won first place. Since jump rope is not in the Olympics, we have our own world competition,” Davis says. “I traveled to South Africa with about 60 members of Team USA. Forty-two countries were represented at the competition.”

Davis also is taking into her own hands making jump roping worthy of the Olympics. She has become a jump rope “missionary,” and she travels the world to spread the word to start new teams. In order for a sport to be considered for the Olympics, 70 countries with independent governing bodies have to form teams. Davis has traveled all over the United States and world with members of USA Jump Rope to spread the word and to attempt to make jump rope an Olympic sport. On these trips, Davis and her teammates do jump rope demos, find and train coaches and teach children. Davis most recently traveled to Canada in the fall of 2009 to teach jump rope clinics there.

Every year has been full of accomplishments for Davis since she discovered her jump roping talent, but the past year has been a monumental one. She made the U.S. All Star Team for jump roping in September 2009. This team is composed of 24 elite jumpers from all over the U.S. that serve as ambassadors to the sport. Davis was excited to be a part of this team and to get to know teammates whom she had previously only viewed as competitors.

Davis also performed in the 2009 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with 150 other jumpers from across the nation.

“The Macy’s Day Parade was probably one of my favorite jump rope memories. It was an incredible feeling to know that literally millions of people were watching and to be able to provide the sport more recognition,” Davis says.

To top off a year full of accomplishments, Davis was selected for the fifth season of the MTV show America’s Best Dance Crew to be a part of the crew “Saltare,” which means “to jump” in Latin. She regretfully had to be replaced after learning of the show’s time commitment due to her academics, but Davis still says the process was a great experience.

One might think a jump rope missionary wouldn’t have time for much else, but Davis finds a way to be a very active member of the College community. She is biology major on a pre-med track. Davis got involved in Dr. Jorgenson’s research lab last year and does research with blue crabs and lobsters, experience that Davis hopes will help her to become a surgeon.

Outside of her rigorous academic course load, Davis serves as sophomore class president and is involved in other activities on campus such as Chi Omega, Outdoor Adventures, Students Interested in Health Careers, Biology Club and Intervarsity. The College and Davis seem to have a mutually beneficial relationship, with Roanoke making as much of an impact on Davis as Davis does on Roanoke.


“It’s been a great opportunity to gain so much research experience as only a sophomore in college. My entire Roanoke experience so far has been amazing. I love the small school environment and how easy it is to be involved,” Davis says.

Davis credits the College as being the perfect place for her to pursue her academic goals and further her jump roping talent. “I travel a lot for jump rope, and my professors are all really understanding of that. I receive support from the school that I might not be able to find elsewhere. I’m able to combine my two biggest passions: academics and jump rope,” Davis says.

About the Author

Megan Semmelman is a sociology major with a communications concentration from Pennsylvania. She is a student writer for Roanoke College Public Relations and is active on campus in several organizations, including Chi Omega and Relay for Life.

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