In October 2007, as the first Red Bull Art Of Motion was drawing to a close, and first world champion Ryan Doyle was lying in a hospital bed in Vienna with a shattered leg, the WFPF was born. For the previous year and a half, the yet to be named organization had been the brainchild of three American guys, Victor Bevine and David Thompson, who between them had spent over twenty years working with at-risk inner-city youth, and Francis Lyons, six-time Emmy Award-winning producer of MTV’s hit show MADE, which for years had been making the most unlikely kids’ dreams come true. The three men experienced quite a learning curve as they worked to understand the true nature of Parkour beyond the thrills and spills, to get some kind of concept of this phenomenon that had totally captured their imaginations.
In the end, though, it was the hard-won trust and commitment of the founding athletes, Ryan Doyle, Daniel Ilabaca, Tim “Livewire” Shieff, Pip Andersen, Phil Doyle and Ben Jenkin from the U.K., Daniel Arroyo, Michael Turner and King David from the U.S., Oleg Vorslav, the “Russian Climber”, from Latvia, that made the WFPF possible. These young men, all of them extraordinary athletes and amazing human beings, came together around the idea that they could more effectively and positively influence the direction of Parkour’s growth from “the inside”, rather than remaining underground and opposed to all commercial development. For their part, Bevine, Thompson, and Lyons listened attentively to the athletes, as well as countless freerunners from around the world, with the goal of doing something that had not been done before; looking beyond the conflicts in the community to identify shared values and support the growth of the Parkour movement worldwide.
The years following were filled with countless late-night phone calls, many trips across the Atlantic and the U.S., plans made and principles defended, minor disagreements and not a few major disappointments.