Is Bungee Jumping Really A Sport?
or is it:
Bungee Jumping – The Non-Sport?
A few days ago, Australian Beau Retallick beat a bizarre world record by bouncing 158 times in 24 hours, seven more jumps than the previous holder. In fact, Retallick, who achieved this prowess in Japan, jumped 178 times in succession, but 21 of those attempts were not homologated as deemed non-compliant
Obviously, for him, given this unbridled pace, bungee jumping is a sport. This is not the case in France, where discipline is considered as a leisure activity under the Ministry of Youth and Sports (and Women’s Rights and the City if the whole denomination Of this ministry of the cock-to-the-anon). There is, for example, no French championship bungee jumping (or bungee [y] as the insiders say).
Bungee jumping, it seems, originated in the heart of a tribe of the Vanuatu archipelago in the Pacific Ocean. To pass into adulthood, young men at the end of adolescence have, over time, been thrown into the void from a 25m bamboo tower, feet held by a vine, in order to come to brush with Their heads the part of the soil which they had previously plowed. Originally popularized in New Zealand, this activity landed in our borders in 1986, precisely from the bridge of Ponsonnas (103m), in the Isère.
How many jumps are made in France each year? The Ministry of Sports (and all the rest) has not the faintest idea of this activity, which has been severely restricted since 1989, although a few fatal cases have been sadly deplorable ever since in Fréjus in 2010, The entire territory.
“The inventory of sports equipment gives 29 natural sites where bungee jumping is practiced,” says Chantal Foucher as the department’s sports director. But we can potentially make it from all bridges of sufficient height, not to mention cranes and other promontories. ”
During the summer season, this type of entertainment, beyond these few fixed and tourist places, is multiplied, in fact, on the sites of fairgrounds or at large public gatherings like Solidays.
Where is it possible to jump in France? From a bridge, a viaduct, a tower, a crane, a cable car and even, for exceptional occasions, a hot air balloon or a helicopter. Some even venture to this type of exercise with a motorcycle or an ATV, but this way of sending itself in the air obviously remains reserved for an elite of “stuntmen”.
In terms of height, there is no real limit. In France, it is roughly between 30m and 190m, knowing that rain and wind, from the moment they are too strong, can prohibit this type of practice.
“If on the bridge, in our reception area, our papers start to fly because of the wind, it’s time to stop,” notes Jean-Michel Pretot, Latitude-Challenge, Which offers bungee jumping activities from the Pont de l’Artuby (the highest bridge in Europe) located 182m above the ground in the Gorges du Verdon. “With the changing weather of this summer, the season has been a bit complicated to manage, especially since customers are less numerous when the weather is uncertain,” acknowledges Franck Montiel d’Oxygène 40 who uses two viaducts in the Vienne and The Indre. “If we are prevented two or three days a year, that’s the maximum,” says Philippe Berrier for Vertige Aventures, near Grenoble, responsible in particular for the site of the Pont de Ponsonnas.
In his 140-meter cable car above the Deux-Alpes station, the only one of its kind in France, Fred Moras is more than anyone subject to the vagaries of the sky that do not always allow him to ensure the three departures planned on Between June and August.
“Over a whole season, about 200 people board the cable car that can not accommodate more than 12 people. Once on the spot, between sky and earth, people jump connected to a 28m long elastic that weighs 40kg. The time to fall at the first bounce is six seconds
As is often the case, each organizer manufactures its rubber bands according to standards laid down by the regulations in force in France. An elastic should be changed every 150 jumps. In terms of the age of the jumper, the range is, in principle, from a legal point of view, from 13 years to 60 years: parental authorization is mandatory for minors and a medical certificate from age 50 .
But there are sometimes derogations depending on the summer mood of the organizers, which are usually five in the context of a good preparation for the jump.
“I had a lady who came three times when she was 74, 76 and 83 years old,” says Jean-Michel Pretot. After the third time, I told him it was wiser not to come back. ”
A minimum weight of 40kg is generally requested and the maximum tolerated can be 120kg or 130kg. However, no one will ask you to climb on a scale to check it.
The cost of a jump is obviously variable depending on the height and the frame proposed. For a leap worthy of the name in a natural environment, a sum between 50 euros and 100 euros is usual. For Beyonce, New Zealand, it was obviously free
To jump 192m (more with a cable than a rubber band), the American star chose caution by throwing herself in the void feet forward and being attached by the waist, which is a kind of minimum in the middle Of the bungee jump.
For if there are different types of jumps, the jump of the angel attached by the feet obviously remains the signature of a “successful” jump in the spirit of discipline and the one that is essentially proposed in France. Philippe Berrier has the right recipe:
“The successful jump of the angel is signed by the one who throws himself into the void, conscious of his body and space after having flexed on his legs to project himself into the air.”
Problem: the legs sometimes flageolate at the fateful moment and they hide a little at the moment of the momentum. Excessively few are the refusals before the “obstacle”.
Regularly practicing bungee jumping in a club on a regular basis is a luxury that can be afforded even if the number of such clubs is limited to a dozen France, like that of the viaduct of Saint-Georges le Gaultier, near Le Mans.
“We are not here as part of a commercial activity, but because we are a group of enthusiasts, admits François, president of the association called Elastique Record. But our doors are obviously open in the summer season for those who wish. ”
And obviously, these two did not regret it …