For many athletes across the world, the highest honor is representing their country while competing for an Olympic medal in the sport they've trained their whole lives for. But thanks to poor experiences from overbearing management, there's a group of athletes that reject the aforementioned premise and want the Olympics to ignore their sport altogether: parkour runners.
Parkour Earth urged members of the International Olympic Committee on Tuesday to reject adding the obstacle course-style street-running event to the Paris Olympics in 2024 because of what has been described as a "hostile takeover" by the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG).
Here's what the group's chief executive said about FIG's initial moves to bring the sport under its wing in 2018, per the Associated Press.
"They are completely whitewashing our sport, its integrity, its history, its lineage, its authenticity. They want to codify it, they want to monetize it. It's about money, about influence, about power, about control. It's about having a seat at the table."
Other concerns are that the sport would be bastardized in a way where it was no longer about having fun -- the philosophy of the sport is of a "let's play" nature -- but more about seeing who could do the most dangerous, crowd- and judge-pleasing stunts. For what it's worth, FIG argues that it would not reward risk and that the organization just wants to offer infrastructure to help the sport grow.
The fight from years ago continues today with the latest open letter to the IOC from Parkour Earth. They've asked the IOC to acknowledge that the experts of how to run the sport are with organizations outside the FIG and work with groups like Parkour Earth to help the sport become more Olympic-ready. They also want to use this fight as a springboard for the inclusion of other future sports in the Olympics.
FIG, meanwhile, is asking for parkour's addition to the 2024 Olympics in Paris, the birthplace of parkour.
As it stands now, the IOC does not want to go beyond its established quote of 10,500 athletes, which adding a new sport with not a lot of crossover in other competitions might require. However, the FIG has already been making strides in its control of the sport, with the first parkour world championships scheduled to take place in Hiroshima, Japan in March 2021.