Lest you think that parkour died with its viral videos back in 2014, rest assured—parkour is alive and thriving and definitely its own sport that is not gymnastics, thanks much!
Parkour Earth, the sport’s global body, sent an open letter to the International Gymnastics Federation today asking them to back off parkour. The group feels that the federation is trying to gain control of the sport in time to take credit for its possible inclusion in the 2024 Olympics, and Parkour Earth isn’t having it.
The letter demands the federation’s “commitment to take no further steps to implement your purported encroachment,” asking for a meeting in September to ensure that both sides are clear.
This isn’t the first time that a parkour group has clashed with the gymnastics federation. Parkour UK—the first group formed to recognize the sport at a national level—sent a letter in June, accusing the federation of “encroachment and misappropriation.” The letter emphasized that parkour is not gymnastics, saying, “We are our own sovereign sport with independently recognized distinct uniqueness and cultural status.”
Today’s letter from Parkour Earth is a very similar statement, but from a larger group. Now that the Olympics has announced the introduction of less traditional sports like skateboarding and 3-on-3 basketball for 2020, parkour seems a strong possibility for 2024—and so the pressure for one group to take control of the sport is on.
The gymnastics federation, for its part, has responded by saying “that its approach has never been to unilaterally appropriate a discipline.”
May there be a resolution soon, for the sake of those everywhere who love running around and jumping off of walls.