From tennis champions to dance craze inventors, Scratched celebrates New Zealand sporting heroes who never got their due – but whose legacies deserve to be in lights. This month, aerobics world champion and creator of Jump Jam, Brett Fairweather.
Every New Zealander under the age of 30 knows at least one Jump Jam song. “Witch Doctor”, “Coconut”, “Kotahitanga”. They’re instantly recognisable, with the recognition most often accompanied by an involuntary dance move. Less readily recognised is the creator and choreographer of those dance moves, Brett Fairweather.
Concerned only with lifting weights as a teenager, Fairweather was moved to join an aerobics class after hearing the music through the walls of the gym. His love for the sport only grew, and culminated in a win at the World Cup in Japan in 1991. Being an aerobics champion in 1991 meant being world famous. Fairweather went on a global tour, competing and teaching in over 20 countries. When he returned to New Zealand, he wanted to share his love of a now dying sport with the next generation. In 2001, Jump Jam was born, and the rest is history.
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