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September 6, 2004

Parkour - skateboarding without the skateboard


This sport is still unknown to most American teenagers.

It was invented in the late 80s by two suburban Paris teenagers, Sebastien Foucan and David Belle, who began experimenting with obstacle-style exercise courses taught them by Belle's father, who served in the military.

Parkour (pronounced par-KOOR) derives from the French word parcours, or obstacle course.

Parkour athletes use whatever's around - stairways, benches, even rooftops - as obstacles and springboards to vault and jump off of in a series of moves called "runs."

Urban Freeflow is a London-based group with a website that serves as the sport's hub, message board, and all else.

Foucan said in an email interview that "It's a mix of animal, water and Spiderman."

French filmmaker Luc Besson featured the sport in a 2001 film called "Yamakasi."

Parkour is now slowly making its way into the U.S., helped along by word up on the web and Nike, which has used parkour in some of its recent shoe ads.

[via Doug George and the Associated Press]

September 6, 2004 at 12:01 PM | Permalink


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