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Double Dutch

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archives- 30 years of double dutch

DAVID A.WALKER, Founder & President

Basically, 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 within.

A 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.

It 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.

The 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.

In 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.

Since 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.

The 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.

For 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 Classic© and other world-class tournaments throughout the world.


Copyright © 2003, International Double Dutch Federation, Inc. All rights reserved.