Double Dutch is a rope skipping exercise played when two ropes are turned
in eggbeater fashion. While the ropes are turned, a third person jumps
history of the game written by David A. Walker, the founder of the sport,
traces the probable origins to ancient Phoenician, Egyptian and Chinese
ropemakers. They plied their craft at ropewalks - spaces 900 feet or
more in length - usually near seaports. With a bunch of hemp around
their waists and two strands attached to the wheel, the ropemakers walked
backwards, twisting the rope into uniformity. As the runners traveled
the cluttered floors supplying the spinners with hemp, they had to jump
the twisting rope. To make their deliveries, they needed quick feet,
lithe bodies and good eye perception.
is possible that at these ancient rope-works the basic framework of
Double Dutch evolved. In all likelihood, the rope spinners, runners
and their families patched together a leisure time activity from their
work. The strand-over-strand turning movement of the spinners, the footwork
of the runners evolved into the game. Thereafter, it was passed from
generation to generation.
Dutch settlers brought the game to the Hudson River trading town of
New Amsterdam (now New York City). When the English arrived and saw
the children playing their game, they called it Double Dutch. The game
has since grown over the years, particularly in urban areas. It became
a favorite pastime to sing rhymes while turning and jumping. During
World War II, the game was often played on the sidewalks of New York.
By the late 1950s the radio music boom dominated urban America and the
lack of recreational areas in close proximity to apartment buildings
had made the game nearly extinct.
1973, David A. Walker, then a New York City Police Community Affairs
Detective, joined by his partner Detective Ulysses Williams, developed
the street game of Double Dutch into the World Class Sport that it is
today. With the assistance of the physical education instructors at
IS 10, Walker and Williams revitalized the game by developing it into
a competitive team sport. On February 14, 1974, the first Double Dutch
tournament was held with nearly 600 fifth, sixth, seventh and eight
grade students participating.
that initial tournament, competitive Double Dutch has expanded with
citywide and national championships. Nearly 100,000 girls and boys representing
schools and community centers throughout the United States and world
compete for team positions at the national and international events.
American Double Dutch League, the sport’s first governing body
was formed by David A. Walker, in 1974. He resigned from the ADDL in
1992 after serving 18 years as the organization’s president. Mr.
Walker went on to form the International Double Dutch Federation
(the international governing body of the sport,) the National
Double Dutch League, and the world famous DDDD-Dynamic
Diplomats of Double Dutch team.
the past twelve years, Walker’s invention of the popular “Fusion”
free-style approach for the sport of Double Dutch is the format adopted
and used at the internationally supported Double Dutch Holiday
and other world-class tournaments throughout the world.