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Alexandra Shevchenko: a jump from gymnastics to parkour

A few days ago a St. Petersburg woman, master of sports in artistic gymnastics Alexandra Shevchenko became the first among women at the largest parkour and freerunning competitions Red Bull Art of Motion 2017. In an interview with her, we decided to figure out why the girl's passion for parkour began, what is freerunning and what her daily trainings consist of.

Alexandra Shevchenko: a jump from gymnastics to parkour

- Sasha, tell me how you started do parkour. How did this choice come about?
- At first I was engaged in gymnastics for a long time and professionally, then I finished my sports career and got a job as a general physical training coach for tennis players. At some point, I decided to look for another job and went to get a job in a sports club as an acrobatics coach. There I saw that the guys were jumping and doing some unusual elements. It looked cool! That is, it seems to be acrobatics, but it seems to be not, something unusual, new. From the first day I was so taken by this that I then disappeared into the hall every day.

- What kind of coach would you be if you hadn't seen parkour then?
- I came to get a job to teach people ordinary, classical acrobatics. And in the center of the club there was a parkour park. And the first thing I saw was how the guys climb onto the cubes, do somersaults, move along them, jump into the foam pit. Then I saw another acrobatics for the first time, and I really liked it.

- How did parkour and freerunning appear?
- In general, parkour was originally invented. The guys who worked on it (the famous Yamakashi team) had their own philosophy. It consisted in the fact that parkour is not even a sport, but the art of movement: we move, beautifully and quickly overcome obstacles on the site and in life, thereby raising our spirit. Then something happened, they went their separate ways, and David Belle remained associated with the word “parkour”, and Sebastian Fukan called his direction freerunning.

Alexandra Shevchenko: a jump from gymnastics to parkour

Photo: www.redbullcontentpool.com

- At the competitions that took place recently, you competed in the freerunning discipline. Tell me in more detail what it is?
- This is the same parkour, the same jumps, but with the addition of elements from acrobatics. To make it clearer, parkour is moving from point A to point B in the most efficient way, you need to get to the finish line as quickly as possible, and freerunning is moving around a certain area, you do tricks, jumps, add acrobatic elements. It is more spectacular and beautiful.

- What is a freerunning program for competitions made of? Are there any basic required elements?
- Of course, there are elements that are most often repeated, there are also elements from ordinary parkour. For example, you climb a wall with the help of the classic “wave wound”, but then you jump from there already through somersaults. Classical gymnastic screws are often included in the program, but in general you can be creative withwe think over your program, because your task in the competition is to surprise the spectators and judges. Now in general there is such a race in tricks, to come up with something new, such that no one has seen.

- How do you train?
- I always tell everyone, that without general physical training anywhere. Because if you don't train your muscles, the body will not be ready and even with a banal landing, you can get serious injury. In general, I try not to jump on bare asphalt, but, for example, on Santorini there were no other options. So general physical training, stretching, acrobatics, classic parkour are what I always have in my training schedule.

- I know that you took part in a crossfit camp a couple of weeks before the competition. What does CrossFit give you? Why this particular type of fitness?
- Yes, a couple of weeks before the competition, I really went to the crossfit camp and did functional training for a whole week, did not do any acrobatics, but prepared my body in terms of endurance.

Alexandra Shevchenko: a jump from gymnastics to parkour

Photo: www.redbullcontentpool.com

- It helped you in preparation for the competition?
- Actually yes. If before I went down a couple of times and then went up, I felt my muscles begin to ache. This time it was not like that and with the help of endurance I pulled everything out.

- Is balance important in parkour and freerunning?
- We have such a sport that you will relax a little and you will immediately get hurt. The head must always work, you must always be collected. And if you feel that you are very tired and cannot concentrate in any way, then it is better to stop training and go to rest.

Alexandra Shevchenko: a jump from gymnastics to parkour

Photo: www .redbullcontentpool.com

- How was the competition you recently took part in?
- Red Bull Art of Motions is the biggest ever competitions in parkour and freerunning. The selection takes place in several stages. Six finalists of the previous year must go to the final, then 4 more boys and 3 girls go through the online selection. And even if you don't go through this stage, then you always have the chance to come to Santorini and be selected on the spot in three days.

Watch the replay of the Red Bull Art broadcast of Motions

In general, everything was grand, and there was such a crazy atmosphere around. This year there were very strong qualifiers, no worse than the finals.

Alexandra Shevchenko: a jump from gymnastics to parkour

Photo: www.redbullcontentpool.com

- What plans do you have now?
- My goal now is to compete, to do as much as possible, to participate everywhere. And, of course, I'm very serious about the World Cup next year.

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