Urban sports between Olympic integration and preserved identity

25 years. Calming maturity and full form to ride. In Montpellier, the International Extreme Sports Festival (Fiss) is celebrating its founding quarter century with drums and trumpets starting Wednesday, May 25th.Nearly 2,000 “rider” BMX, skateboarding and scooter specialists with 600,000 spectators on the banks of the Lesbian (Please read below)..

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The development of all kinds of acrobatics, top speed music, as well as high-flying performance, all its splendid fiss, “alternative”, “urban” and even “action sports”. Canter. Born in the streets and non-traditional playgrounds, it initially claims lifestyle and the absence of executives, but has been approaching the sports movement for several years until it was recently integrated into the Olympics. Like skateboarding and BMX in Tokyo, it’s an immediate “break” in Paris.

New youth of the Olympic movement

Fise does nothing in this evolution. The founder of the festival, Hervé André-Benoit, is one of its leading architects and one of its greatest supporters. “For years, Fiss and these sports have grown with almost general indifference. He says. We were rebels and unorganized caricature riders for the sports authorities. In particular, I had to specialize myself to build trust with sponsors and the media. »»

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Twenty years later, urban sports follow the same path as sliding sports, windsurfing, surfing and snowboarding that emerged in the late 1980s. Above all, it is a field of freedom and joy, far from competition and prominent practices. However, the Olympic movement rushed back to its fold in the 1990s. “And that’s an unavoidable phenomenon, Judge Thomas Refor, a sociologist who became a roller skating champion on a professional podium from a shy kid on the edge of a skatepark. Sports appear in the surrounding area, but most do not stop there. These are movements that experience “sporting” with the establishment of easy-to-understand rules and are essential to attract the attention of the general public and transcend the framework of the community. »»

Keep alternative culture alive

It wasn’t until 2014 that the League of Nations and the International Olympic Committee scrutinized these swirling urban sports. “Traditional sports organizations follow a true desire for rejuvenation. Observe Hervé André-Benoit. Today, it is clear that one in two children tends to practice these sports. You can’t ignore them. »» For Fise creators, skateboarding and BMX in the game are Pathfinders. “In today’s skateparks, 40% of practitioners are on scooters. He continues. And parkour (A kind of gymnastics consisting of overcoming obstacles in the urban environment, editor’s memo) It’s exploding. These two areas are suitable for me in the Los Angeles Games in 2028 and Brisbane in 2032. The two cities have a great deal of emphasis on urban sports. »»

However, this absorption by the dominant model remains the subject of intense debate within the relevant communities. Risk of losing your soul, risk of being diluted in a wonderful Olympic bath? Eternal discussion. “For example, if you look at the evolution of surfing, you’ll see that there are now two groups that have nothing in common. Veteran athletes and surfers who are always out of control in search of the ultimate wave.” Thomas Refor commented. Urban sports are now at a crucial stage, with riders from both trends still co-existing. Fise also navigates this crest line and, of course, hosts competitions, but is trying to maintain a living alternative culture. »»

For Hervé André-Benoit, it’s certainly a push issue. “Regulated practices, especially within the Skatepark Academy. Frames are not only reassuring to parents, but also to maintain free practices because they are our DNA.”.. Especially in the case of games, a large gap that inevitably raises the issue of adjusted spectacle. “In the process of normalizing the Olympics, we need to know what we are giving and what we are not giving. Emphasize Thomas Refor. Be careful not to expose riders who may not be athletes yet, and be careful not to extinguish the flood of sights of our field and provide too smooth competition, as in Tokyo. .. »» In short, it’s a matter of balance. But isn’t this a privilege of aerobatic ace?


Seven areas of the program

From May 25th to 29th The Extreme Sports International Festival (Fise) program has seven areas.

Three are the Olympics: BMX Freestyle Park and skateboarding in Tokyo, and breakdance (or breakdance) debuting in Paris in 2024.

The other four are inline skating, scootering, parkour and BMX flatland. It consists of chaining tricks to the bike without getting off. Fise has built partnerships with certain international federations such as the Union Cycliste Internationale and the International Gymnastics Federation. This allows the festival to host the World Cup stage, especially BMX and Parkour.