In Europe, freerunning is the next big thing. Or, I shouldn’t say next, as it has already arrived, proven by last weekend’s Barclaycard World Freerun Championships held in London’s Trafalgar Square.
Freerunning is a sort of extreme urban acrobatics. Basically it's running through a city, jumping and flipping off buildings and walls and guardrails and such. It’s especially big in the urban centers of France, where it started, and in London.
It’s a descendant of parkour, which also started in France. Though similar, freerunning and parkour are different, as Wikipedia says. Parkour is all about efficient movement through urban space. Freerunning is more about style. Personally, I can barely do a somersault, so I’m that much more impressed by the things these people can do.
At the Championships last Sunday, the freerunners competed on artificial “urban” things set up for them to jump, swing, and flip through. In real freerunning of course, it’s much more authentic. In fact, some purist freerunners frown upon any kind of official competition, saying it goes against the spirit of freerunning. Maybe so. Still, I wouldn’t have minded being in Trafalgar Square to catch some of this amazing stuff live.