Parkour’s First Appearance on Television in 1997

Today’s post is a mashup of ThrowbackThursday and PlaySculptureSaturday, but that’s too long for a hashtag!  Thanks to reader Mark for sending me the link to this intriguing piece of recent play history:  the first time parkour was featured on television in 1997.  Beginning at :053, the clip shows the runners scaling Pierre Szekely’s monumental Dame du Lac sculpture between Evry and Courcouronnes, considered by many to be the birthplace of the new play sport.   Szekely completed the sculpture in 1975, incorporating many of the ideas he had worked out in smaller play sculpture installations (see this previous Playscapes post on his work).  Though the invention of Parkour was still years away, the forms of his sculpture seem to have perfectly anticipate the free form running-climbing-jumping-swinging that would be adopted on the site, and spread eventually throughout the world, including to other sculpted landscapes like those of Lawrence Halprin in the United States.  So is Pierre Szekely the real father of Parkour?  A playful question to ponder on your Saturday.

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