events & legacy
FISE World Series: An Extreme Sports Tour
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Their growing popularity was initially supported by alternative markets and the riders’ passion for the sports. However, with the recent introduction of skateboarding and bmx freestyle to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic programme, the sports are on the cusp of a popularity explosion.
In 2020, Japan will be the first ever country to welcome an Olympic Games programme that includes urban sports. The IOC has refreshed the Olympic programme to attract new audiences and surf, skateboard and bmx freestyle park have been added. Athletes from these disciplines are currently involved in the qualification process to try and make sure their country has a spot in the Olympics next summer. In order to earn qualification points, athletes are competing at premium events which have been specially selected by their referring federations. The UCI selected FISE World Series events to host the UCI BMX Freestyle Park World Cup, where riders can earn major points towards qualification.
What is FISE about?
FISE World Series presented by Honor is an extreme sports tour that brings together the best action sports athletes on the planet, to compete in different cities around the globe. This is the biggest and the best multi-disciplinary action sports series in the world. The selection of sports is huge, including bmx freestyle park and flatland, skateboard, roller freestyle, breaking, parkour and a variety of others. The tour welcomes all skill levels. Each year, over 2,900 amateurs and professionals from over 40 countries take part in the tour, which is hosted in iconic cities that are well-known for their support of young people and sport. With the global expansion of action sports, FISE events are enjoying solid growth, especially among millennials. The festival’s vibrant atmosphere always draws large crowds – cultivated by dedicated host organisations and inspirational local and international athlete ambassadors. Building on the success of previous years, each stage of the competition offers additional activities so visitors can enjoy a complete festival experience. Demonstrations and introductory sessions have helped popularise urban sports, and we see continued growth in follower numbers and the influence of alternative sports on culture.
Every year the parks and ramps get bigger and bigger and the riders’ level and the competition between them increases. FISE has teamed up with several international federations, so each stop will host their official world cup. A partnership with the UCI for the fourth year brings spectators the UCI BMX Freestyle Park World Cup, alongside the second season of the UCI BMX Flatland World Cup. FISE World Series also continues to be the home of the FIG Parkour World Cup and WS Roller Freestyle Cup. The edition of these cups has raised the stakes for athletes even further and helped cement the tours position as the most anticipated competition for all action sports enthusiasts. At each stage of the tour, riders have the opportunity to win points, earn significant prize money and gain media exposure. Overall rankings are calculated at the end of tour determining the 2019 winners from each discipline.
The inclusion of urban sports in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games provides an increased opportunity to introduce the sports to new audiences worldwide. The JUSC (Japan Urban Sports Support Committee) are capitalising on this opportunity and actively pushing the development and notoriety of these disciplines amongst the Japanese population.
By hosting a stop of the FISE World Series, Hiroshima has achieved several goals: introducing these sports to new audiences, promoting sports values and benefits to youth, presenting national riders to the world and implementing and supporting the development of Action Sports culture. Moreover, the specific values of the different sporting cultures and communities are promoted. The influx of tourists generated by FISE is of huge benefit to the local economy, both directly and indirectly. It also takes many people to transport, feed, house and entertain everyone, so the local area is buzzing with the festival rhythm for several months beforehand.
Every year, the event takes place in April during one of the most beautiful periods, the spring “Cherry Blossom Season”. Since the first edition, FISE Hiroshima has gathered a large number of attendees. Over 86,000 people attended the 2018 event and in 2019 the crowds were even larger with over 103,000 spectators visiting over the 3 days.
The event also attracted many international athletes as well as local Japanese athletes who were keen to show their skills on the world stage. In 2018, 399 riders from 31 nations gathered for the event, including 199 Japanese athletes. For the second edition, 516 riders from 38 nationalities competed, including almost 300 athletes from Japan.
The increasing numbers of riders and spectators is proof that the enthusiasm for these sports is growing each year. Some Japanese top athletes are already famous on a national scale and abroad, such as: Rimu Nakamura and Minato Oike (BMX Freestyle Park), Moto Sasaki & Misaki Katagiri (BMX Flatland), Daisuke Ikeda (Skateboard Street), Zen Shimada & Hikari Izumi (Parkour), Kaita Dohi & Saeko Sugimura (Bouldering), Takeshi Yasutoko & Chihiro Azuma (Roller Freestyle), Shigekix & Ram (Breaking). All of them were excited to compete at FISE Hiroshima, because it is the best way for them to promote their sports and they were proud to show the best level of their disciplines.
For Hiroshima, hosting a stage is also part of a long-term approach, resulting in the future development of the host city through the networks created by: riders, opinion leaders, organisations, institutions and private partners.
The event also helps to celebrate some of Hiroshima’s own values including its mission for peace. Each year, the event partners with “Peace and Sport” to promote peace and take part in the global “white card” campaign where international and local riders, as well as prominent community and action sports figures, raise the white card as a sign of their commitment to peace efforts worldwide. This campaign generated a final total of 98 million people reached on social media promoting the values of peace
and sport to youth.
More and more cities are looking to develop Urban Sports thanks to their increased popularity amongst youth audiences, promotion of gender equality and ability to bring people together. By choosing to commit to developing action sports and hosting a FISE World Series event, Hiroshima stands out as a dynamic, young, friendly and open-minded city.