April 18, 2024
Silke Sollfrank: The former gymnast who says parkour 'slapped her in the face' and gave her freedom

Silke Sollfrank: The former gymnast who says parkour ‘slapped her in the face’ and gave her freedom

Everything changed for her when she was introduced to parkour.

Instead of worrying about “pointy toes all the time, Sollfrank discovered freedom in parkour, which involves jumping, climbing and running around urban landscapes.

“I realized that I need to set my own limits,” Sollfrank told CNN Sport. “I need to focus on my movement instead of always comparing myself to other people as well.

Sollfrank admits she prefers to be "more chill" in parkour than "being very feminine" in gymnastics.

“All I did when I was a gymnast was comparing myself to other women and try to be better than them. And parkour kind of slapped me in the face and showed me: ‘This is not this is not what you want.'”

Since switching to parkour in 2015, Sollfrank hasn’t looked back.

The 23-year-old has competed in the world’s biggest parkour competitions, making her debut at the Aurora Games in New York and also made the podium in the Red Bull Art of Motion event in 2019.

Sollfrank participated in the Netflix show Ultimate Beastmaster and was the last woman standing in her Ninja Warrior Germany episode.

She’s also the only woman in the 15-member parkour group Ashigaru. And now she wants to encourage more people follow in her footsteps and take up parkour.

Sollfrank admits it took her "only two weeks" to have the basics of parkour shown to her.

“Doesn’t matter how old you are, doesn’t matter what gender you are, as long as you can see that you enjoy movement, that you enjoy challenging yourself,” says, Sollfrank, who admits she’s had to overcome her fear of heights to continue competing.

“There shouldn’t be any fears of starting because everyone starts at their own level. Some people might have a lot of body experience and start a higher level. Some people don’t know about anything, would like know how to do parkour and they start from zero. And that’s totally fine.”