“It’s not just daredevils launching themselves off rooftops or criminals trying to climb buildings and crawl down the edge of things. … It’s all about finding your own path.” That’s how Sam Parham, a “Guinness World Records” and Screen Actors Guild Award–winning stuntman and pioneer in freerunning, or parkour, explains the sport.
And Parham and others are working hard to make it a sport through the World Freerunning Parkour Federation. The WFPF offers trainer certification and classes. (Parham says you don’t have to be an athlete to learn parkour.) Just as important, the organization has established formal competition and recently hosted the World Parkour Championship in Tampa, Florida. Parham anticipates that parkour will evolve into a major sport just like snowboarding, providing opportunities for athletes who are looking for options other than gymnastics.
When it comes to parkour, Parham sees it as a metaphor for life: “We all have different obstacles, whether that’s physical, mental, whatever.” 24Life asked Parham how he came to the sport, the significance of its rise in popularity and (yes, with a little skepticism) how it’s possible that the sport is accessible to anyone.