Tori Boggs: Jump-Roper Extraordinaire

Steve Wartenberg
Tori Boggs

Odds are you’ve jumped some rope back in the day, perhaps in gym class or with friends on the playground. So, go ahead and try this (or maybe just think about trying it): Start jumping, and now spin the rope under your feet three times per jump, in defiance of the laws of gravity.

It’s called a triple under, for obvious reasons, and is incredibly difficult. To do once. Now, try doing 10, 50 or 100 consecutive triple unders.

Impossible, you say?

Not for 29-time world jump-rope champion and professional jump-roper Tori Boggs. She holds the women’s triple under world record at 412. “It took about five minutes,” the Columbus resident says of her record-breaking feat. “You keep going until you’re exhausted or mess up. What’s kind of funny is triple unders are becoming a big thing in CrossFit, and you’ll see someone post about how they did five.”

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Boggs, 26, is a whirlwind of action and activity—a high-octane overachiever who earned an academic scholarship to Ohio State University; performs her trick-filled, creative routine regularly in Cirque du Soleil; wowed Ellen on The Ellen DeGeneres Show; invented the Torminator (more on this trick later); choreographs routines for teams around the world; developed a jump-counting app (Tally Jump) to help jumpers train; and plans to attend medical school one day, like her older brother Zak, a former Major League Soccer player now attending medical school at Ohio State.

“My dream was always to jump in the Olympics, and I’m part of a team trying to make that happen,” Boggs says. “We’re hoping it will be a demonstration sport in 2024 in Paris and part of the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles.”

In other words, her life is a lot like doing triple unders: keep going until you’re exhausted.

The West Virginia native was smitten with the sport when she was 5. “We were at a Junior Olympic tournament in North Carolina; my brother was doing taekwondo, and we saw jump roping. I was like: ‘I want to do this.’”

She joined a local team and claims, “I was terrible at first, a really uncoordinated 5-year-old.”

The men’s and women’s individual and team all-around competition consists of four events: 30-second and three-minute speed contests, triple unders and freestyle. Boggs won her first all-around junior world title in 2004 when she was 11, competing against girls several years older. Two years later, Boggs went up against even older competitors and won the all-around world title. “That was a big surprise,” she says.

Boggs was featured in “Jump!,” a 2007 documentary about the sport. “Tori is iconic, everybody [in jump roping], no matter who you are or where you’re from, knows Tori Boggs,” says her friend Noah Mancuso, a world-class jumper. “She grew up dominating the sport, a female doing power skills that were difficult even for the guys to do, and with creativity and grace.”

Boggs and Mancuso started the National Collegiate Jump Rope Council, which organizes college competitions. “She’s so much fun to be around, and so creative, and always has awesome ideas and is willing to help the younger kids,” Mancuso says.

Power skills require strength. “A power move is when you’re inverted, upside-down or on your hands and have to push yourself off the ground,” Boggs says.

And that brings us to her signature move: The Torminator. Boggs makes it sound easy: “You do a backward-roll extension into a handstand [while continuing to jump rope]. You hold the rope under your leg, and when you’re in your handstand, you grab the rope and pull it out.” Boggs and her rope are essentially one. She wrote a college essay about how it “feels like an extension of my arms and my body.”

The sport also has helped her better understand and manage life’s ups and downs. “Jump roping is such a fickle sport,” Boggs says. “You can make a lot of mistakes, and that’s an important lesson, that you can just pick up the rope and keep going. It’s not the end of the world. I’m 26, and I have a lot of failures to come and a lot of things to learn from my failures.”

And maybe, some learned lessons from a few more world titles.


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Tori Boggs

Age: 26

Day jobs: Professional jump roper, performer, coach and choreographer

Honors: Multiple world championships

Favorite training spot: Wherever she is in the world

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