UC student will perform in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

She’s ‘super excited’ to show off her competitive jump roping skills before a national audience

Floats, music, entertainment — who doesn’t love a parade? And America’s largest, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, is gearing up for another incredible run.

This year, Lauren Bradstreet, a second-year University of Cincinnati student, will be among more than 100 jump rope athletes who will travel to New York City and represent 25 teams from 21 states across the nation performing in the iconic event. The group is known by the acronym JUMP, or Jumpers United for Macy’s Parade.

“I have always wanted to march in the Macy’s Day parade,” says Bradstreet, a 19-year-old from Dublin, Ohio. “As a little girl, I remember being at my grandparent’s house, and I would see it on TV with all the jump ropers. I’ve been jump roping since second grade. It’s something I’ve just always wanted to do.”

Jumpers will arrive in New York City by early next week to practice. The parade is 2.8 miles long, and jumpers will be performing tricks and skills in unison as they jump their way along the parade route to entertain millions who will watch in person or via television. Bradstreet’s team will be featured in a live one-minute segment broadcast on NBC national television.

Image of a past Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is among the nation's oldest parades. It attracts millions of viewers in person or via broadcast. Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

This choreographed TV routine, built around the 112 athletes performing a complex interconnected double Dutch matrix, flanked on both sides by a single rope route, will include national and world jump champions. The group of jump rope athletes traveled to Cleveland, Ohio, for a practice over Labor Day weekend, where they spent two days in intense rehearsal to synchronize their movements and interaction.

“It’s probably one of the biggest things I’ve ever done with jump roping,” says Bradstreet, a student in the UC Lindner College of Business. “I am super excited.”

Bradstreet has competed at over 50 competitions during the past 12 years. At local competitions, she received awards for every single rope and double Dutch event (both speed and freestyle). Bradstreet competed at nationals in 2018, receiving second and third place for various double Dutch events. Lastly, at world competition she received fourth place for Team Single Rope Freestyle and Double Dutch 3x40 (3 people, 40 seconds).

As an elementary school student, Bradstreet started jump roping with a team of students after a physical education coach saw her active in class. 

“But I was not good, I would say. Not amazing, but I could do a basic cross,” says Bradstreet. “I loved performing for my school, and in middle school, we started going to competitions and workshops, and that made me realize how many opportunities and tricks there were."

Tricks that people have never seen before is what gets the crowd going.

Lauren Bradstreet

Bradstreet then began to put more time into practicing and taking lessons for competitive jump roping. “I started to get better and better, and it was during high school that I started to compete at the national and world level,” she explained.

Bradstreet will be performing in the Macy’s Day parade with jump athletes from her hometown, known as the Dublin Sparks Jump Rope Team, a competitive and performance team open to students in Dublin City Schools.

“Tricks that people have never seen before is what gets the crowd going,” said Bradstreet.

She has stepped up her training, spending several hours in the UC Campus Recreation Center multiple times a week because of the length of the Macy’s parade. 

“It’s a very long parade, and they want us to be able to train so we can do up to two hours of jumping,” said Bradstreet. “We are doing the parade, jumping the whole parade as well as performing in Herald Square for television.”

Featured photo of Lauren Bradstreet in Nippert Stadium provided by Ann Bradstreet.

Where to watch

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will be broadcast nationally by NBC starting at 9 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 25.