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#3. David’s View on ‘Parkour Competitions’
I can’t recall any extensive conversation David and I have had on Parkour competitions. It just has never come up, and in general it’s not really pertinent to current projects. But in addition to David’s Olympic viewpoint (already stated), I will tell you that in David’s Parkour City concept, he has proposed having a Parkour competition, and he even proposed and designed a Parkour competition course for it.
In summary, Parkour isn’t competitive, but you can still have competitions built on the spirit and purpose of the movement.
Update – August 13: David and I were walking around Lisses yesterday, so I probed a bit further and brought up the competition aspect again. Three points came out that I thought were worth emphasizing because they give more insight and show David’s heart towards competitions.
- Sponsors would be ok, but the winner shouldn’t get a lot of money or anything like that. Maybe a trip/vacation would be a good prize.
- The important thing would be to participate and be a part of it rather than winning.
- Although time is involve and there would be a winner, he thinks of it as much as a “Sports Spectacle” as a competition.
Now one last thought(s) since this was supposed to be a blog that I wrote rather than simply one where I regurgitated and clarified David’s stance. I of course agree with David that Parkour could/should/would be great as an Olympic event. This was the thesis I was going to put forth even before asking him. However, because of how the Olympics work, I don’t see Parkour ever fitting in to the Games. And this is why:
- The Olympics are steeped in tradition. You don’t see a lot of new events being let in.
- Action sports of any kind (for the most part anything more dynamic than traditional events) are non-existent in the Olympics save for (as far as I know) snowboarding. And snowboarding isn’t as much of a new ‘event concept’ or ‘new action sport’ as it is a new method of navigation built on a previous concept which is skiing. The snowboarding half pipe is new so there is some precedent for the IOC being open to new things, but snowboarding seems to be the exception to this.
- Most Olympic sports are always conducted, year after year, in the same way and this is part of the tradition. With the exception of slightly changed road courses for running and biking which cannot be avoided, and scoring rule changes which go on a sport by sport basis (take Gymnastics for example which no longer as a perfect 10 score) there is no dynamism in the Olympic Games that presents new challenges to athletes. In this way old records can also always be challenged. Because of this, I don’t see Parkour fitting in to the Games unless the IOC accepted a standard course that they never expected to change.
So there you have it. Should Parkour be in the Olympics? According to the founder, the answer to that question is a resounding yes. Or is to say rather that David would be very pleased and would support the entry of Parkour as a sport in the Olympics. Whether it ever happens is another question entirely. I, for one, hope it does.
P.S. Update #2 since I am here. Since the initial writing of this I have been made aware that BMX is now an Olympic sport. Good call, David : )
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.