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Russian daredevils set rope jumping trends

Rope jumping was originally invented in the US, but Russian adrenalin junkies have taken the sport to extremes.

­It's not the most common sight in Moscow to witness hundreds of young people flocking to a cinema to watch a film other than a Hollywood blockbuster.

But that's what happened when an extreme sports film about guys who turned their hobby into a profession was screened this week.

"For me rope jumping is not only about the jumps themselves,” Sergey Firsov, director of “The Rope”, told RT.  “The more challenging a jump and a location, the more rewarding it is. That's my motivation. The film was a very ambitious project. It took us two years to shoot it and there was a lot of effort from everyone who took part.”

All that's needed is just a rope and a bridge high enough to jump from. Sounds simple and pretty straight forward, but in this case, simplicity is synonymous with dangerous.  

No wonder the sport is so popular in the country laying claim to the deadly game Russian roulette.  

“Rope jumping was invented by American mountaineer Dan Osman, who tried to conquer his fear of falling down,”
Aleksey Ershov, Extreme Adventure Activity team rope jumper, said. “So he started to jump with the rope to face his fear. Unfortunately, the founding-father died in an accident during one of his jumps. But the sport he invented lives on.”

Despite being invented in the US, Russian’s are the sports trend-setters. Those in the know here say you just have to trust the bridge, the rope and the knot and then take a step into the unknown. The trick is to jump so as to swing underneath the bridge.

“During the first jumps, people just don't realize what happened during the jump,”
Firsov explained. “They remember taking their first step and then hanging onto the rope. The more experience you get, the more pleasure you get from it. But the fear stays with you. It just transforms a little.”  

“At first the feelings were extremely sharp,” Ershov remembered. “Adrenaline was blowing my mind. Now I'm not getting as much adrenaline as I used to. But I can truly admire new locations, surroundings, and value the moment.”

Russia is simply not big enough for some daredevils, with some traveling to Poland and the French Alps to improve their highlight reel.

The fast growing sport is also attracting more and more people primarily involved with snowboarding and mountaineering in particular.

The message is clear – those needing an adrenalin rush will always find a new way to get it.