Parkour group urges IOC to reject its sport for 2024 Paris Olympics

LAUSANNE, Switzerland — Organizers of the sport of parkour urged the International Olympic Committee on Tuesday to reject adding the obstacle-course-style street-running event to the 2024 Paris Olympics because of a dispute with the governing body of gymnastics.

The Parkour Earth group has for years opposed what it calls a “hostile takeover” of the sport by the International Gymnastics Federation, known as FIG.

“Unfortunately, FIG’s encroachment and misappropriation of our sport continues,” Parkour Earth wrote Tuesday in a letter to the IOC.

The IOC executive board will meet Monday, and on the agenda is finalizing the sports program for the Paris Games. Requests from governing bodies to add medal events or modify existing ones are expected.

FIG, which will have 18 medal events at next year’s Tokyo Olympics, is expected to ask again for parkour’s inclusion. Paris is where parkour was developed in the 1990s.

Parkour’s spectacular tricks in an urban setting have clear appeal at a time when the Olympics are targeting a younger audience.

Skateboarding, 3-on-3 basketball and sport climbing will make their debuts in Tokyo, though the IOC declined FIG’s proposal of parkour. Break dancing will be an Olympic sport in Paris in 2024.

What counts against parkour for the Paris Games is the IOC’s policy of adding medal events that involve only the existing pool of athletes. The IOC does not want to increase the overall quota of 10,500 athletes competing in 2024, and parkour competitors are separate from FIG’s Olympic disciplines of artistic and rhythmic gymnastics, and trampoline.

Despite the dispute with Parkour Earth, FIG plans to stage its first parkour world championships in March. Events in parkour speed and parkour freestyle are scheduled to be held in Hiroshima, Japan.

“The collaboration is a natural fit,” the Lausanne-based gymnastics body has said, “as several national gymnastics federations affiliated with the FIG already offer parkour activities.”

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