Hérault: photos for official recognition, a fighter’s “parkour”

Hérault: photos for official recognition, a fighter’s “parkour”
Hérault: photos for official recognition, a fighter’s “parkour”

By Léa Pippinato
Published on

May 8, 24 at 5:02 p.m.

updated on May 8, 24 at 5:10 p.m.

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FISE is for now. From May 8 to 12, 15 disciplines are competing with more than 45 competitions on the program on ramps specially built for the event on the Rives du Lez, in Montpellier. World Cups, recognized contests and night competitions, the 2024 edition promises to be sensational. This is an opportunity to look at the structuring of these new urban sports. While some have recently entered the Olympic program, others are also trying to make their place in the international sporting environment and structure their practice, like parkour.

So, new clubs are opening, like the Panther’s Territory, Villeneuve-lès-Béziers. Created last January, it already has 212 members. Parkour practitioners see it as an ideal playground.


“The project had been under consideration for five or six years, but I knew that I wanted to see the creation of a room to develop the practice of this sport through learning and performance,” recalls Nicolas Henneron, technical manager of the club. Coming from the world of gymnastics, he still deplores certain prejudices surrounding this practice: “There will always be the cliché of the Yamakasi who jumps from roof to roof, while most parkour takes place at eye level, with the ban on going more than 2.5 meters from the ground.”

Courses to break the clichés

However, the visibility offered to parkour, particularly via social networks, tends to gradually change mentalities and popularize this acrobatic discipline. “The more we see at a high level, the more young people will want to reproduce. They don’t see all the preparation beforehand. This is why we place a lot of emphasis on safety and educational sessions with them,” underlines Nicolas Henneron.

“The more we see at a high level, the more young people will want to reproduce. They don’t see all the preparation beforehand. This is why we place a lot of emphasis on safety and educational sessions with them”

Nicolas HenneronPanther’s Territory Technical Manager

So, little enthusiasts can start from three years old, with what the club calls baby parkour. Adults are also welcome. Once reassured, their apprehensions dissipate. “We also have a ‘Parkour without shock’ program with advanced motor skills exercises for the elderly,” he adds. Furthermore, 25% of those registered are women, a figure making Panther’s Territory the French club with the highest female percentage. Interventions in priority neighborhoods are also commonplace, in order to develop this urban sport.

All these courses, as diverse as they are, provide a framework for the practice of parkour. This is what Théo Caffin, president of the Montpellier Parkour Association, offers courses for children and adults. “This is totally part of an idea of ​​discovery so that everyone realizes that there are in reality a whole bunch of basics to know. It’s not just about jumping off a roof 20 meters.” Parkour, beyond its most stunning or daredevil representations, relayed by a flow of images striking the imagination, is first and foremost a sport accessible to all.

The discipline is structured

Beyond having restored its image, parkour has started the movement towards recognition. Last year, FISE already hosted a little news: a round of the Parkour World Cup. For this 2024 edition, the discipline is still evolving. “There are two events, one in sprint, the speedrun, and the other in freestyle, the freerun. For the second, we take into account the level of difficulty and the execution score, including the rhythm, safety and connections,” explains technical manager of the Villeneuvois club. While this acrobatic performance was supposed to take place within a minimum time limit, this is no longer the case. For their part, local institutions are gaining notoriety: recently, the Panther’s Territory organized demonstration days and invited high-level athletes.

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From practice to professionalism, there are still many steps or obstacles to overcome, starting with the multiplication of official events, in parallel with “recognition from the Parkour Federation”, judges Théo Caffin, practicing this sport for 11 years now. Among the best known: the FPK weekend, the largest gathering of traceurs in France and Europe, organized by the Montpellier Parkour Association in 2019 in Villeneuve-lès-Maguelone. “Associations from all over the country were positioning themselves to find out who organized it, but in the absence of an agreement, it did not take place last year,” laments the young Montpellier resident. Today, fans can only gather around a few official gatherings, such as the Parkour Session festival in Miramas, where several hundred athletes flock to share their passion and the art of movement in the heart of nature.

Furthermore, Théo Caffin believes that the legitimization of this discipline dear to his heart is possible thanks to associations such as those of Montpellier, benefiting from recognition by the FPK, itself being part of the ASPTT (Fédération Omnisports) .

Olympic destination?

Nicolas Henneron admits to hoping for the entry of parkour into the great Olympic family, but without going faster than the music: “What this sport lacks for it to remain in such an official competition and to do not go back and forth on a simple Olympics, it is a time of structuring from which other disciplines have benefited, such as BMX or skateboarding, both born in the 70s. Parkour arrived 20 years later », notes the runner who, despite an absence in 2024, cherishes the hope of seeing his discipline at the forefront during the Los Angeles Games in 2028. The battle is tough, so much so that the question divides greatly support parkour practitioners, some fearing a loss of identity. “Since parkour officially depends on the French Gymnastics Federation, the scoring of the events would be carried out exclusively by professionals in this field. I think it would be best if retired athletes, with experience in parkour and understanding the intentions of athletes, were added to the jury,” defends the president of the Montpellier Parkour Association.

“Since parkour officially depends on the French Gymnastics Federation, the scoring of the events would be exclusively carried out by professionals in this field. I think that the best would be retired athletes, with experience in parkour and understanding the intentions of the athletes, are added to the jury”

Theo CaffinPresident of the Montpellier Parkour Association

The movement towards Olympic recognition has however begun, and it is not impossible that it will come to fruition. For 2028, the Californian metropolis and the IOC (International Olympic Committee) are seriously considering integrating it into its program as a test discipline, especially since the urban decor already in place lends itself very well to jumps, jumps and jumps. obstacles and urban races. Just a few more obstacles to overcome before the consecration?

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