Last day for the FISE in Montpellier. And everyone would like to make the pleasure last a little longer... Despite a capricious weather at the end of the week, this FISE 2023 was an excellent vintage with the particular flavor of an edition full of stakes, almost one year before the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
It would be difficult to summarize these 5 days in a few lines. Especially since no less than 6 world cup or equivalent events were held in Montpellier this weekend, including 2 related to Olympic sports (Breaking and BMX Freestyle Park):
- UCI BMX Freestyle Park World Cup
- UCI BMX Freestyle Flatland World Cup
- WDSF Breaking for Gold Series
- WS Roller Freestyle Park World Cup
- FIG Parkour Speed Run World Cup
- FIG Parkour Freestyle World Cup
If we had to retain only the strongest moments among the innumerable performances which followed one another during this Festival, here are those which would impose themselves to us...
- UCI BMX FREESTYLE PARK
Let's start with one of the most awaited competitions of the week by the FISE public: UCI BMX Freestyle Park World Cup final. In the men's competition, all eyes were on the local boy: Anthony Jeanjean. Years of work, risk, rigor at all levels, incredible progress and here is the darling of the banks of the Lez at the highest level.
He was able to compete with the king of the park, Logan Martin (AUS), 1st Olympic champion in the discipline, and to position himself just behind him on the 2nd step of the podium. He delivered a very mastered final run, with an incredible amplitude, composed of huge tricks like a 720 on the step down at the beginning and a 360 triple whip on the step up, which gave him a score of 91.80 points. Enough to earn a standing ovation from the audience, but Martin's experience would again make the difference. 92 points on a first pass in safety mode, the machine accelerates in the second run with a triple whip on the table and incredible transfers all along. The verdict: 94.20 points, an impeccable smile and an unquestionable victory for the Australian!
In the women's category, a nice surprise for the Frenchy Laury Perez who took the third place with a very nice second run where she did a double bar spin on the quarter, a tail whip and above all put back her first flair in contest with a nice amplitude! In second place, slight disappointment for the triple world champion Hannah Roberts. The American had qualified in first place with 87 points, but despite her backflip on the step up, she could not dislodge the Chinese Huimin Zhou, another nice surprise today. Qualified in ninth position only, she attacks her second run with a 360 bar on the spine, plates a bus to condor on the table and tricks on the whole park until the final buzzer. A great commitment, a very clean style, 90.80 points and a well deserved victory!
- UCI BMX FREESTYLE FLATLAND WORLD CUP
Another major competition at the FISE: the UCI BMX Flatland World Cup, which clearly confirmed the Japanese hegemony again this year. If Japan has always been a land of flatland, it is only for the last 3 seasons that the Japanese team has made the trip in force to the major international events, crushing everything in its path.
The tornadoes Yu Shoji and Kio Hoyakawa at the head of the line. Both of them fought hard for the first 2 places, using signature tricks that they are the only ones to perform on the circuit. Hoyakawa, winner of the FISE 2022, will this time lose to Shoji. On the 3rd step of the podium, we find the Canadian Jean-William Prévost, particularly in form at the beginning of the season, who took the microphone at the end of his run to make a beautiful declaration of love to the public in Montpellier. Another declaration marked the competition: that of the nonuple world champion Matthias Dandois, absolute idol of the Montpellier public, who arrived just below the podium today, and who announced that the FISE 2024 would be his last.
Aude Cassagne will save the French honor in the women's category, by winning this 1st stage of the UCI World Cup, ahead of two other representatives of the Japanese gang, only 17 years old, Kirara Nakagawa and Sakura Kawaguchi.
- BMX STREET
In some events, the world order was not shaken and the leaders remained at the top of the bill, as in BMX Street where the Spanish rider of Nigerian origin Courage Adams won the gold medal for the third consecutive time in Montpellier.
While many competitions were thwarted by rain on this Sunday, BMX Street benefited from a nice ray of sunshine. Nevertheless, the weather forced to change the format of the contest to a best trick jam where the riders were divided in groups of 4 and had 3 minutes to perform their best tricks. The maestros of the discipline were there, such as Nathan Williams and Colin Varanyak who were participating in their very first FISE. Despite the great performance of Heavy Hitters, it is once again the Spaniard Courage Adams who takes the win with one of his famous combos: Bar, Manual & 180 bar. In second place, the Englishman Alex Kennedy and a nice surprise, the Frenchman Thomas Carrot takes the 3rd place with a huge 360 whip.
- WDSF BREAKING FOR GOLD SERIES
Another discipline received a lot of attention during this 26th edition: Breaking, because of the Olympic stakes in perspective. During two days at the beginning of the festival, a panel of international judges had the delicate task of deciding between the B-Boys and B-Girls who came to Montpellier for the WDSF Breaking for Gold Series.
At the end of the first day of competition, 3 Frenchmen remained in the running out of 12 registered: B-Boy Lagaet, B-Girl Carlota and the very recent French champion, recently bronze medalist at the European championships: B-Girl Syssy, only 15 years old. She was the only one to make it to the semi-finals before losing to the big winner, China's B-Girl 671, taking 4th place in the process. In the final, 671 beat B-Girl Nicka (3-0). On the men's side, Canadian B-Boy Phil Wizard won over Japanese B-Boy Shigekix in the grand final (3-0). The American B-Boy Gravity completed the podium.
- FIG WORLD CUPS
The 2 FIG Parkour World Cups (Freestyle and Speed Run) were the ones that suffered the most from the bad weather this week, forcing the organization to take the results of the qualifications of some events for the final ranking. Only the final of Parkour Speed could take place, bringing the Italian Luca Demarchi to the first place in front of the Ukrainian Bohdan Kolmakov and the Czech Jaroslav Chum who finished victorious last year. The Swede Miranda Tibbling recorded the best performance of the qualifications of the FIG Women's World Cup stage that will count for the final and thus retains her 2022 title, ahead of the American Audrey Johnson and the Dutch Bodine Zuijderwijk.
In the women's Freestyle, the victory goes, as last year, to the Mexican Ella Bucio Dovali who did not flinch with an extremely technical run and mastered rotations, including using the bars as apparatus since she comes from gymnastics. In men's freestyle, this French stage of the FIG World Cup was won by the Swede Elis Torhall with a simply memorable performance.
- WS ROLLER FREESTYLE PARK WORLD CUP
Let's continue with the WS Roller Freestyle Park World Cup, where Frenchman Julien Cudot won with a stratospheric second run, with a stunt on each obstacle, big flips and technical grinds, all sprinkled with a magnificent fakie frontflip. Insane. Behind him, the Dutchman Jaro Frijn and Takeshi Yasutoko from Japan.
In the women's category, the level has progressed incredibly in recent years... This season, the regulars of the FISE have been joined by a new generation that is riding harder and harder. At the top of the ranking, at just 13 years old, the incredible Mei Myoga, representative of this new Japanese scene, imposed herself with a perfect execution and an inimitable style. She attacked her run with a magnificent fakie 720 on the fun box, and the rest was a succession of tricks, each one cleaner than the other. On the second step of the podium, the young Gapençaise Lilou Fumery, also 13 years old, and genius full of skates. She puts back a big 360 at the beginning, then a royal on the drop rail, as well as a huge misty on the fun box, showing a great experience in her run management! In 3rd place, we find the Spanish Eneritz Quincoces.
- SKATEBOARD STREET
On the Skateboard Street side, the biggest performer of the FISE 2023 is French! After the qualification in 1st place of Joseph Garbaccio (who finally finished 6th), Maxime Berguin, really creates the surprise by taking the skatepark by storm and offering himself the best score with 47,82 points in semi-finals which, because of the rain on the day of the final, finally counted for the final overall ranking. Slovakian technician Richard Tury, winner of FISE 2018, as for him, put down his arsenal of tricks as well as a huge nose blunt transfer to spice things up, and thus took second place. Brazilian Ivan Monteiro to finish, put in a great run and used every obstacle in the park with one of the cleanest styles and a perfect nollie heel 270. He took the third place.
- SCOOTER FREESTYLE PARK
A FISE wouldn't be complete without the Scooter Freestyle Park, which, as usual, was packed for the semi-finals (which will also count for the final score because of the weather). As improbable as it may seem, as the 2022 competition was so high, the level was raised again this year! And new countries were at the start in 2023 as Poland which had never competed until now. We will remember the name of the American, Chris Farris, who showed an incredible commitment. Behind him, the Frenchman Esteban Clot and the Englishman Clark Jordan completed the podium.
Matis Neyroud, for his part, made his mark by performing a manual board, manual front flip drop, a world first on the Montpellier Park. He finished 8th.
Despite the shifting weather on this Sunday, the FISE was able to hold the Women's Pro Scooter final. And fortunately because it was phenomenal, with riders coming from all over the world and a level that has clearly improved. In the opinion of the judges and festival-goers, it is now equal to that of the men. Throughout the finals, there were amazing and infinitely varied tricks, with incredible amplitude and a very polished style. Two Americans took the podium: Rebeca Oritz in 1st place and Mia Catalano in 3rd. In the middle, the New Zealander Alexandra Madsen.
See you next year, same place, same period at the Ascension for a 27th edition not to be missed two months before the beginning of the Paris Games!