Recently Take Flight posted the question on their Facebook, “Should Parkour be in the Olympics?” Knowing they were going to post this question, I was approached and agreed to write a blog post responding to it if the post got more than 200 comments. It got 300+, so here I am.
Because I thought the post would indeed get 200+ comments I was preparing my ideas beforehand. But then after it did get 200+ comments, I got a brilliant idea: let’s skip my opinion and just ask David [Belle] about it. As fate would have it I was on my way to see him, so yesterday I asked him. Here is how the conversation went. This is not an exact transcript of our conversation, but it’s pretty close:
Adam: David, I have kind of a weird question for you. Do you think Parkour should be in the Olympics?
David: Oh yeah, that would be great! I mean if BMX is in the Olympics then Parkour should be too.
Adam: Umm, I don’t think BMX is in the Olympics.
David: Really? I think it is.
Adam: Do you mean like BMX with the bike?
David: Yeah, BMX [and then he demonstrates turning the handle bars].
Adam: Umm, I don’t think it is.
David: Well either way it would still be great if Parkour was in the Olympics.
So there you go – short and sweet with a little bit of humor too. According to the founder, Parkour would be great in the Olympics.
Now if you’re confused at all by David’s answer I’ll explain a couple things:
#1. What is Parkour
Contrary to still commonly used although inaccurate definitions, Parkour, by definition, is a training method founded by David Belle that is most commonly characterized by overcoming obstacles in the natural and urban environments. It is also a non-competitive discipline meaning that practitioners do not compete against each other in the traditional competition sense of having an objective such that the first person to the finish line or the person/team with the most points at the end wins etc. David has said many times that in Parkour you compete against yourself. It’s you and the obstacle. This is not in debate in any Parkour circles that I know of.
#2. Parkour in Competition Mode
Contrary to misunderstood or misapplied Parkour philosophies, Parkour can easily be put into a competition mode and this is not contrary to the training method itself or the philosophy of Parkour as long as the competition was shown as something qualitatively different from the training method itself, and as long as the competition model stayed true to the ideas of the discipline. Doing this would mean that the competition would have to basically be an obstacle course that is done for time. Fastest time wins. True Parkour prevails.
(to be continued… To read part 2 click here)
Adam Dunlap is the founder of Take Flight. In addition to his ongoing role at the company, Adam is currently working closely with David Belle in films and on other projects in order to advance Parkour in the US and around the globe. Previous projects of Adam’s include starting the Revolution Parkour gym in Portland, Oregon, and running various Parkour blogs. Adam is an avid Traceur and can often be found training both outside and at Parkour classes in whatever city he finds himself. Adam currently takes no salary from his work with Take Flight.