Monday, November 22, 2010
Video: Two local free runners make sense of their urban insanity
We met the twin brothers at Reunion Park in downtown Dallas and got schooled on the sport of free running.
DOWNTOWN DALLAS Those of us over the age of 21 might not be hip to an outdoor sport growing in popuarity called free running. It combines gymnastics, acrobatics, some break dancing, and parkour – and the result is a whirlwind of jumps, flips, and please-don't-break-your-neck moves.
Free runners Jonathan and Thomas Tapp
That's where 21-year-old twin brothers Jonathan and Thomas Tapp come in. Originally from Greenville, Texas, the brothers now live in Plano and devote their days to training in free running and building their business, in which they do commercials, model shoots, and stunt work in their unique style.
The world is still relatively small when it comes to free running and parkour, and the Tapp brothers are up there with the world's best.
The brothers started dabbling in free running in their teens, first by jumping off their roof at home without their parents' permission. It eventually evolved into tricking around the house and in nearby parks when they weren't at regular soccer practices at Greenville High School. At 17 years old, they had to tell their parents that a local news station got wind of their talent as free runners and wanted to interview them. At the time, the sport was still a secret to their folks. “They saw a video of us doing it and kind of freaked out,” Thomas Tapp said.
Their parents wanted them to go to college on soccer scholarships, so the boys first went to the University of Dallas and then to the University of North Texas. “But we were following the same cycles as everyone else,” Jonathan Tapp said. “We left school and started training. We thought we could really do this with our own self promotion.”
They have since made deals with Heelys, a Carrollton-based company that sells the shoes the boys sometimes train in. They are also sponsored by Urban Free Flow, a parkour and free running network, and they're the only U.S. athletes to be sponsored by that group. They have also done commercials for Mountain Dew and post some pretty amusing weekly videos on their website.
The Tapp Brothers in “Texas Insanity”
The two-man team says they don't get injured “much,” though they joked about sitting in the ER for three hours while Thomas' ankle was dislocated. (Ouch.) He also hurt himself during a Mountain Dew commercial and the boys are proud to say they kept the footage of the injury. “It hurts to watch it – still,” Thomas Tapp said. Watch the Texas Insanity video on the right and you'll see the stunt at the 2:39 mark.
No more than an hour after we met, the boys had tricked around downtown Dallas and were off on another adventure. Today, it was to the court to contest a ticket Jonathan Tapp got for “pedestrian in the roadway.” It seems not everyone likes their sport as much as we do.
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