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Greece’s Astypalea Hosts Parkour’s Most Prestigious Competition

Astypalea parkour
Astypalea Art of Motion competition. Credit: Red Bull

The island of Astypalea in Greece hosted the Red Bull Art of Motion 2022 this week which is regarded as the most daring parkour competition in the world.

Sixteen international freerunners showcased gravity-defying stunts and tricks in the stunning setting of the Dodecanese island.

Art of Motion is held annually in some of the world’s most beautiful places, and this year, the small, picturesque setting of Astypalea hosted the event over the course of three days from June 9th to June 12th.

The island’s old town rises out of the Aegean Sea towards a clifftop Venetian castle in a jumble of white-washed narrow streets, flat rooftops, and balconies that provide a perfect, obstacle-filled arena for parkour.

Possibilities for parkour routines are endless on Astypalea

Parkour, often referred to as free-running, entails creatively moving through an urban environment by flipping, jumping, and vaulting across various obstacles.

On Astypalea, the possibilities for parkour routines are endless, as illustrated by the variety of tricks each athlete unveiled at Art of Motion.

The athletes had to create three videos showing off their own unique style. They were then judged on the difficulty, creativity, flow, and execution of their routines.

The 19-year-old British teenager, Travis Verkaik, was crowned the Art of Motion champion in the men’s event after securing a first, second, and third place in the three challenges.

“This is unbelievable. I used to watch Red Bull Art of Motion when I was only 11 with my friends. And to win it is a dream come true,” said Verkaik.

Meanwhile, 21-year-old American athlete Sydney Olson, who won the competition in 2019, triumphed again in this year’s women’s competition after a spectacular final run in the last event.

“It feels amazing to win again, like an out-of-body experience,” Olson revealed. “The greatest feeling was stomping the run at the end, I tried to not let the occasion get to me. It’s been one of the most incredible weeks of my life.”

Astypalea turns “green” with fleet of electric cars

The island received the first shipment of electric cars in April through a program to make it the first “smart” island that runs almost entirely on green energy.

The delivery is part of the “Smart and Sustainable Island” program, a joint plan by the Greek government and Volkswagen.

Announcing the program, Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis declared that the ambitious project was “a doorway to a newer, cleaner, more sustainable world…where energy powers our lives without harming our planet.”

The Astypalea Project is an integral part of our “collective effort to solve the world’s climate emergency,” Mitsotakis stated.

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