Jumping Off Buildings a Growing Sports Trend

Jumping Off Buildings a Growing Sports Trend

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Paul Nelson reportingOne of the hottest new sports trends involves jumping over walls and flying from rooftop to rooftop. It's called parkour.

In Casino Royale there is a scene where James Bond chases a man through a construction site. The other guy jumps off a crane, flies through narrow windows and vaults himself over a table. That's an example of parkour, and it's getting more popular in Salt Lake City.

Tyler Sharp said, "We just walk around up at the U and look for places that we can mess around at." He has been hopping over walls and off staircases for about six months now.

His father, Jeff Sharp, says he's sure his kid won't do anything too stupid. "I think he's smart enough to know his limitations. I don't think he's going to try something he doesn't think he can do."

However, Tyler says he has, for lack of a better phrase, biffed it a few times. "I tried to lazy vault over something and then racked myself."

Other traceurs, as they're called, say they've done some things that would make normal people question their sanity. Nick Sartaim admitted to jumping off a two-story building.

Traceur Sartaim says he's heard a few different stories about how parkour started. One of the stories is that French soldiers created it in Vietnam as a means of escape.

"I've heard something along that line. I've also heard something along the lines of it being used as a rescue technique," Sartaim said.

As you can imagine, jumping off a building isn't really safe for an untrained person. That's why Sartaim says you need to know how to roll. In other words, know how to fall.

Sartaim explains, "The roll is one of the most important movements, because if you don't know it, you're going to blow out your knees, you're going to blow out your ankles, and you're going to blow out your hips."

Basically, "the roll" consists of somersaulting from one shoulder and rolling on to the opposite hip. I'm a big guy and not very agile, so when I tried it the first time, it felt like I was punched in the kidney. At the end of the day, I was still really bad at it.

Sartaim said, "I've seen videos of people jumping straight off and landing on their kneecaps and laying on the ground for minutes."

That's one of the reasons they suggest new people practice at Utah Pinnacle Gymnastics in Draper on Saturdays before jumping off of roofs.

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