More than 4,000 people came out to Tampa’s historic Centro Ybor district on Saturday to check out a truly unique parkour experience at Red Bull Art of Motion.
Red Bull Art of Motion blends the disciplines of parkour and free running, which each have their own distinctive style. Parkour is the physical discipline of training to overcome obstacles within one’s path by adapting movements to their surroundings. Free running is a form of urban acrobatics where individuals utilize the city landscape to perform movements throughout the natural features and terrain.
During the first round of the competition, each of twenty competitors had 90 seconds to freestyle across the course, showing off on and utilizing several different obstacles and features. Based on their run, the top eight contestants (Vincent Coryell, Marvin Ross, Epic Mendoza, Cory Downing, Tim Burton, Jason Paul, Yohann Leroux, and Marcus Gustavsson) advanced to the finals.
Ultimatley, it was Yohann Leroux of Paris, France who came through to claim the title, making him the first-ever U.S. Red Bull Art of Motion champion.
“It’s incredible!” exclaimed Yohann in his native French. “It’s thrilling because it’s a victory not only for me but for the sport of parkour. People in Tampa are very welcoming and I’m happy to win the competition here.”
Described as a ‘product of movement,’ Yohann blew away the crowd and the judges with his fearless creativity and quirky, unique approach to free running. Rocking a cat tail and a tiger-like beard, it was hard for anyone to miss Yohann’s one-of-a-kind style.
Coming in second was Germany’s Jason Paul and in third was Epic Mendoza from Oklahoma City. Landing a “front-flip, punch-front,” Tampa native and crowd favorite Marvin Ross took the title of Best Trick.
“It was a complete accident. I didn’t [plan] to do it,” explains Marvin. “But my momentum was already going so I just went for it and it actually came out clean. That was my first time landing that trick.”
Four of parkour’s most recognizable names were given the task of judging the contestants based on four skill sets: creativity, execution, flow, and technical difficulty.
“Everyone had a completely different style which made it really hard to judge,” says Red Bull parkour athlete and event judge, Ryan Doyle. “It was so fun to watch! The contestants weren’t in competition with each other at all. They were just enjoying the moment and the day.”
Doyle won the first ever Red Bull Art of Motion in Vienna, Austria in 2007 and has since been an advocate for educating people and spreading the word about the art of his sport. Helping Doyle with the judging were local Tampa parkour athlete Daniel Arroyo, parkour legend Tim “Livewire” Shieff and Hollywood stuntman, Solomon Brende.
The next Red Bull Art of Motion will be held at Boston’s City Hall Plaza on September 17th.
Results from the Final
1. Yohann Leroux (France)
2. Jason Paul (Germany)
3. Epic Mendoza (Missouri)
4. Cory Downing (Missouri)
5. Marvin Ross (Florida)
6. Marcus Gustavsson (Sweden)
7. Tim Burton (Texas)
8. Vincent Coryell (Colorado)