Saturday, September 19, 2009

Parkour, free running, a fringe sport with legs

I’ve written a lot about what I call “fringe sports,” those organized activities looking to attract a mainstream audience and become legitimate professional sports.
Professional video gaming, competitive eating, beer pong and the Lingerie Football League are a few of the more odd ones.
Parkour, or freerunning, is a fringe sport that could merit a larger audience. Popular in Europe, it’s like the X Games without any user equipment.
The activity originated in France and involves participants navigating an urban course of obstacles, such as walls, railings and other structures. Participants run, jump, roll, climb and swing.
Recently it’s become a performance sport called free running, with players doing flips and other acrobatic stunts. (See Wikipedia definitions of parkour and free running.)
BarclayCard sponsored the World Freerun Championships at an amazing venue in Trafalgar Square, London, in August. (See video below and Web site.)
MTV and the World Free Running and Parkour Federation will air MTV’s Ultimate Parkour Challenge on Oct. 22 on MTV.

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