Today, decades later, René has: won five world championships; toured the world as a coach and featured performer for the renowned Cirque du Soleil; appeared on television, in feature films, and on thousands of stages; provided color commentary for ESPN; and, created her own business with a mission of youth motivation and fitness.
Like most of people, I was exposed to the fun activity of rope jumping at a very early age. “I can still vividly recall the day in my driveway when dad taught me proper form – one jump, one spin of the rope. I was five years old.”
Today, decades after that first lesson from my dad, I complete my tax return by writing “Professional Rope Jumper” in the space requesting “occupation.”
A Creation of Athlete, Entertainer and Motivational Speaker
Rene is a five-time world champion, ESPN commentator and former artist and coach of Cirque Du Soleil. She is an educator, motivational speaker and entertainer with a special focus on youth fitness and specialty performances. Rene is also an articulate speaker who excels at sharing the benefits of the single best fitness tool available – the jump rope.
So how does someone become a professional rope jumper?
“My elementary school physical education teacher was starting a jump rope team called The Hot Dogs,” says Rene. “Well, I really wanted to be a member, but I wasn’t one of the kids invited to be on the team that year.
There’s another contemporary athlete who was cut from his first team – Michael Jordan. And just like Mr. Jordan, Rene turned the experience from defeat into determination.
"I HAD A COACH NAMED BOB MELSON"
1) Don’t compare yourself to others – just work at your own level;
2) Don’t worry about mistakes;
3) Always give it your best. The next year, I made the team. And Coach Melson’s lessons have lasted a lifetime. “
Rene’s Hot Dog Team became one of the premiere performance jump rope teams in the country. They toured the United States on behalf of the American Heart Association’s Jump For Heart Program. Rene also traveled to many foreign countries, appeared on countless television programs and performed at many high-profile events. Rene recalls shaking hands with Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show when she was junior high.
Rope jumping championships came next. Rene won five world titles in total. Three of them were alongside her Hot Dog Teammates, and two more, later after graduating from High School. She became a well-respected teacher and her peers recognized that she could explain and teach rope jumping to a broader audience. ESPN invited Rene to provide color commentary as they covered the rope jumping world championships. Rene agreed. She also did something else quite remarkable: Rene entered the competitions and won her age divisions freestyle championship!
It happened that representatives of Cirque du Soleil were watching Rene’s performance as both a competitor and articulate broadcaster. They were impressed. “Cirque du Soleil is one of the world’s most successful athletic and entertainment groups. Normally, Cirque du Soleil holds rigorous tryouts before anyone can join their elite troupes of Olympic-caliber athletes. But in Rene’s case, they offered her a joint position as coach and one of the performers with the Quidam Act of Cirque. For more than four years, Rene toured the United States and Europe, performing before overflowing crowds and on television. A feature film was even made of the Quidam show.
After years of living outside the United States, Rene decided to leave Cirque du Soleil but continues to consult with them on a routine basis. Today, Rene calls Seattle, Washington her home and has created her own exciting company, Ropeworks.
Through Ropeworks, Rene continues her mission of sharing fitness and positive life messages with people across the country. Her hugely popular school assembly program is a unique blend of performance, athleticism and pertinent messages, generating tremendous praise from kids and school officials alike. Rene entertains with her rope jumping skills and invites kids to participate. Then, while the adrenaline is still pumping in the children, she anchors the three positive messages her coach shared with her many years ago. The children view Rene as a role model and leave cheering. The adults are touched and inspired. Rene’s sports clinics are also drawing rave reviews. She teaches athletes how to employ the old-school favorite of rope jumping in challenging and innovative ways. Rene’s drills demand agility and conditioning like no other training tool available while working both the upper and lower body.
Rene uses her experience as an entertainer, educator and motivational speaker in a variety of other ways: corporate and special event performances, workplace wellness events, fitness masters classes, as well as jump rope camps and classes. Various jump rope products, such as videos and ropes, are available.
So…that’s how someone becomes a “Professional Rope Jumper.”