Palmetto High School junior Danielle Askowitz is a jump rope national champion. She’s a member of The Jumpin’ Beinz team which practices at Bet Breira Samu-el Or Olam.
“I’ve been going to the Junior Olympics for eight years,” she says. “When I was 14, I won the Gold Medal based on three events in the individual competition.”
Two of those event were based on how many jumps could be done in a minute. The final event was the freestyle, with the routine choreographed to music.
“You do tricks for one-minute-15 seconds,” she says.
Askowitz won the single rope event in the 13-14 year old bracket.
These days she not only competes, but as team captain she assists the club founder Eileen Alvo at practice sessions and helps teach newcomers how to jump. The team did well in this summer’s Junior Olympics, winning 66 medals.
“This year, 100 percent of the team got a medal,” she says. “We have had multiple national champions, including two Double Dutch teams that won the National Championship; a boy who was national champion, a pairs team and a silver medal champion. And there was an individual bronze medal winner.”
The group that Askowitz coached also won a bronze medal.
“That was very exciting,” she says. “This is the first time I did it alone.”
She choreographed the routine so she was awarded a medal along with the team.
The jump rope club not only competes, but gives demonstrations in the community at schools, sporting events and workshops to promote the sport.
“I like teaching kids about the sport of jump rope,” Askowitz says. “I’ve been jumping for 10 years and I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.
It’s the best sport out there, it’s a total body work out.”
Those in the jump rope field are working to promote the sport in hopes of elevating it to an Olympic sport. To that end, when someone learns a new trick or something cool, they teach others how to do the trick – even members of the competition.
“You can always improve, you can learn more,” Askowitz says. “There are new tricks and new ideas.”
Askowitz says jump rope can be for anyone. She says she has been to competitions where men over 50 were competing.
“There is no limit where you have to stop,” she says. “I can jump as long as I want. It’s a great feeling that I don’t have to stop.”
At Palmetto High, Askowitz is in a numerous clubs, including Interact, Pink Ribbon, the Jewish Student Union, Social Science National Honor Society, Spanish National Honor Society and the National Honor Society.
She is good at math, so she has entered math competitions, which include an individual test and a team component. Askowitz tutors students for the Social Science National Honor Society – this year she will tutor students who are taking World History.
Askowitz is on the junior board of a nonprofit organization called Help the Little Ones (HALO), an organization of teens and children helping local children in need. The organization also raises money to provide nutritional supplements for babies in Haiti.
“They don’t get the nutrition they need,” Askowitz says. “Most of our fundraising goes to that, but it also goes the local children.”
The group also collects and distribute toys and books to children at the Homestead homeless shelter.
Askowitz is president of her temple youth group this year. Previously she was on the youth group’s board of directors.