Elise Bickley, aged 16, from Sheffield recently competed in her first world freerunning competition and vaulted her way to an incredible third place, and in doing so, realised her dreams.
The 16-year-old who started freerunning at the age of 11 beat hundreds of entrants worldwide to make the final 18 of the Red Bull Art of Motion event after uploading videos of her skills to the internet.
Elise was beaten to the title by Noa Diorgina from The Netherlands, who became the new 2021 female champion of the sport and at just 16 years old, she is the youngest competitor to have ever won the event.
Elise said: “I never thought that I would podium, I’m so happy, and I’ve never been so excited to compete before.
“Performing a side flip across the water between two boats was a scary moment, but I landed it, and it’s definitely the highlight of my run.”
The tournament, which took place on a series of converted yachts for the first time ever, saw athletes from across the globe competing against one another on an insane floating ‘track’ in the beautiful Greek harbour of Mikrolimano, Piraeus.
With a top possible score of 500 points, competitors at Red Bull Art of Motion were judged on creativity, difficulty, flow, execution and overall performance.
Freerunning pioneer and Red Bull Art of Motion sports director, Nico Wlcek, said: “Red Bull Art of Motion has become known for challenging freerunners and pushing them in their sport and creativity. What better way to do that than creating the first-ever floating playground.”
“No athlete could have prepared for a track like this, meaning we were able level the playing field for both veterans and newcomers while elevating the sport as each athlete needed to adapt their skills in the moment. We had loads of fun dreaming up the idea, but never have imagined a result like this – every single athlete took it to the next level”.
Freerunning originated in France and involves the runner attempting to pass static obstacles in the fastest and most direct manner possible - using skills such as jumping, vaulting, rolling, spinning, flipping and climbing.