When the US locked down due to COVID-19 last year, many people picked up “quarantine hobbies” such as cooking, gardening or creating art. In a more unconventional fashion, Abby Webster ’22 decided to set a world record.
“I loved looking through the book of world records when I was younger, so I was like … what a fun quarantine project to try and break a world record!” Webster said.
At first, Abby attempted random records, like seeing how many socks she could put on in 30 seconds. After a couple of attempts, she decided to choose a record related to something she was already skilled at instead. Abby eventually settled on handless pogo sticking. She had been on a jump roping team when she was younger, so she had experience jumping with no hands.
“I trained pretty much all summer to be able to break the record. It takes about three months for a record to get approved for an attempt. I got the approval right before I came back to [Wellesley last fall], so I obviously couldn’t do it then,” Webster said. “I pushed it back, trained when I got back for winter break, and then broke [the record] in January of 2021.”
The previous record for most consecutive jumps on a pogo stick with no hands was 14,000. The current world record, set by Webster, is now 16,100 jumps. The process of getting a record officially recognized is lengthy, and, according to Webster, almost half the submissions are rejected.
“I had to say what record I was trying to break, what my estimated number would be to break the record, where I was going to do it, what my training looked like, and why I thought I could break this record. It takes about 12 weeks for it to get approved. You have to have two independent witnesses, and different kinds of video footage, photos and an official count [of jumps]. Then, you need write-ups from the witnesses and from myself, and then I submit that all to them and they look at it and verify the count,” Webster said.
Webster did not think her first attempt at a world record would get approved, so she had a “backup record”: attempting the most consecutive jumps on a pogo stick while skipping rope. The training required for both records was similar, so she sent out another application.
“A week later, I got the confirmation on my first one. I kind of forgot about [the backup] until the end of the summer, when I got an email from them saying ‘your attempt is approved’ and I wasn’t sure I was gonna do it. But then I was talking to my friends at Wellesley, and they were like, it would be so fun for you to do this at school,” Webster said. “In my mind, I was like, if I am able to have another world record without a lot of work, why not?”
Webster attempted her second record at Wellesley about two weeks ago, cheered on by a group of her Wellesley sibs. The previous record for most consecutive jumps on a pogo stick while skipping was 1,000.Webster’s record is 4,030. She estimates that this attempt will be officially verified by February 2022. She made it clear that she won’t be attempting any new records anytime soon.
“People are always like, oh, what’s your next one?” Webster said. “I’m like, I think I’m done. Two’s it for me!”