The Sky's the Limit

Colorado is known far and wide for its fleet-footed and dexterous athletes, and it's time to add a new name to that list: Ryan Ford.

Ford, a sophomore at the University of Colorado at Boulder, is the driving force behind the Colorado contingent of parkour, the sport/philosophy of using high-speed acrobatics to efficiently flow up, over and around an obstacle-strewn environment [check out Ford's video above for a primer]. He's also quickly becoming one of the country's top parkour stars; in the past two weeks, he's been featured in two major magazine articles on the sport: one in Time magazine and one in the New Yorker.

I wrote one of the first stories on Ford in the Boulder Weekly; back then he was just a fresh-faced high school kid. Much has changed in two years.

"We are still happy to work with any reporter and publication that will take the time to learn about parkour and represent it in a positive and accurate way," Ford wrote to me this week in an e-mail that screamed of thoroughly adept PR savvy.

Ford's busy updating the Colorado Parkour website, helping to teach packed parkour classes at the Spot Bouldering Gym in Boulder, even working on a biomechanics project for school on the efficiency of different parkour landing moves. He has plans to eventually open his own gym—a facility largely devoted to parkour.

"Big things will be happening with parkour in the future, and we are watching the launching platform come into place right now," he predicted in his e-mail. Knowing Ford, once he hits that platform, the sky's the limit. — Joel Warner

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Joel Warner is a former staff writer for Westword and International Business Times. He's also written for WIRED, Men's Journal, Men's Health, Bloomberg Businessweek, Popular Science, Slate, Grantland and many other publications. He's co-author of the 2014 book The Humor Code: A Global Search for What Makes Things Funny, published by Simon & Schuster.
Contact: Joel Warner