It's hard to browse the web without seeing a Parkour video lately.

From academies in California to performances in France to the annoying teenagers at the end of the block – everyone seems to think it's a good time to make their own Parkour video.

So what makes this one special? This little daredevil, Evgeniy Malyshev, is just six years-old. And Russian. That's already two reasons he should get more web cred.

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Most kids Evgeniy's age are attempting to drink fruit punch without getting it all over their shirts. They are often unsuccessful. You could say the same about most 26-year olds, really.

Evgeniy's already cooler than all of them, so enjoy his work. At least until he owns the medal stand in the 2024 Olympics.

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Parkour

Stadiums are going camo. While most American sports venues stick out like skyscrapers, international meccas are trying to disappear amid the foliage.

The Vallehermoso Sports Center -- to be located in the center of Madrid once construction begins in 2012 -- will not only be built in a space once held by an outdated 1950s stadium, but it will also be partially submerged underground, reports inhabitat.com.

In fact, this stadium is so stealth, it barely sticks out over the trees that encase the entire façade of the building. To take this one step further, the outside of the building will be painted green to emulate the surrounding landscape. The goal is for residents to notice the park-like scenery more than the actual stadium itself. According to developers, when this part of the building is illuminated at night, it will "mimic moonlight filtering through trees, creating a visual treat for passersby resembling a floating light." (Too bad that loveliness could be punctured by the smell of beer.)

By being submerged, the stadium's interior will stay naturally cool, and sunlight will be absorbed by the green turf that will encase the building. The new complex will contain basketball courts, a soccer field, a fitness center, a fencing area, indoor and outdoor pools, a cafeteria, a spa, a physical therapy area, and space for fitness classes.

But Madrid isn't the only city creating camouflage stadiums. Take a look at the stadium in Guadalajara, Mexico, which looks like a futuristic volcano. The city recently unveiled a soccer stadium that collects rainwater, features energy-efficient lighting, and even has a naturally ventilated 8,500-space parking garage -– all encased by a white exterior which is intended to look like a "cloud hovering atop the volcano." (Too bad that loveliness could be punctured by the sound of vuvuzelas.)

The stadium seats 45,000 and it hosted its first match last year. No doubt Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones wishes he thought of this first.

OK maybe not.

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At the very top of his flight, he looks like a tiny satellite, spinning in midair. And he might as well be, because Mitchie Brusco's skateboard skills are going to be broadcast to the world's televisions and tablets for years to come.

He is only 14, but Brusco has already nailed a trick only five other humans have done -- the 900. That's two full rotations and another 180 on top of it. He hit the two-and-a-half spin mark last month in Brazil for the first time, and then last week in an X Games practice, he did it again.

Take a look, and keep in mind the ramp is 28 feet high, and Mitchie vaults another 21 feet out of it:

The "MegaRamp," as it's called, was so intimidating to Brusco that when he first climbed the platform last year, he immediately headed back to Earth. But look at him now -- becoming the youngest ever to match a trick first done by Tony Hawk in 1999. Brusco hasn't even grown into his full height yet -- he's only 5'2" and nicknamed "Little Tricky" -- so can a 1080 be far behind?

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If it looks like Brusco's been doing this forever, he has. He started skating at age 3 when he saw a board at Target near his Washington state home and begged his parents to buy it. He was so good with it that Octagon, Michael Phelps' talent agency, signed Brusco before he turned 5. He was competing by age 6.

But there's not a ton of competition for Brusco now. He finished 5th in his first X Games last week and is one of only two skateboarders ever to perform the 900 on a MegaRamp. After his first successful attempt in Brazil, he even got the blessing of the great Tony Hawk, who tweeted: "Congratulations to Mitchie Brusco with the cleanest 900 to date ... on a MegaRamp."

So perhaps the torch will soon be passed from a skateboarding pioneer to a 110-pound kid who doesn't even have a Wikipedia page.

Soon enough the online encyclopedia -- and plenty of satellites -- will find Little Tricky.

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The future of baseball gloves arrived in the major leagues on June 16, specifically on the left hand of New York Yankees pitcher Brian Gordon, who took the mound against the Texas Rangers wearing the first glove made entirely of synthetics.

The glove, made by Carpenter Trade Company, consists of a nylon microfiber with a suede-like texture and weighs five to 10 ounces lighter than standard leather gloves. The Carpenter glove is the brainchild of owner Scott Carpenter, who moved to Cooperstown 10 years ago to start his business with the future in mind.

All glove experts and baseball historians would agree on one thing when it comes to the future of baseball gloves: lighter is better. Whether that comes from a lighter leather or an entirely synthetic glove remains to be seen, although Carpenter, who made sneakers before gloves, considers his innovation a leader in the race toward the future.

"One thing I’m certain about is if you can get into a time machine and travel 50 years into the future, what you’d notice about the average major league glove in the future is it’s going to have a lot more synthetics and is going to be a lot more lighter than the average major league glove today," Carpenter, 39, says. "And you’re already seeing this."

Easton already has developed a glove made of leather and kevlar, the material used in bullet proof vests. Wilson uses a type of synthetic on the back of several models of gloves and mitts called “Superskin.” Mizuno is using photography and linear regression to design a glove pocket that would be made specifically for each position; it’s also used 4-D technology to figure out the pressure points of where each position player most frequently catches the ball to improve its position-specific gloves. Tanneries such as Horween Leather Company, which supplies leather to Rawlings, has challenged its lead tanner to come up with a composition formula that will make the leather lighter.

"How do you get a cosmetically positive glove -- because they want it to look a certain way -- a performance glove, and get that weight down? It’s a challenge," Horween President of Global Solutions John Culliton says.

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It’s a challenge not entirely met by all. Nokona, known for its genuine leathers, parted ways with a Boston-based investment group when the group wanted to take production overseas and introduce more synthetics into manufacturing. Cutters Gloves, which purchased Nokona a year ago, wants to return the brand back to its roots, said president Jeff Beraznik.

"That's not to say we’re not looking to be on the forefront of advancement in the next creative ball glove but we do understand the importance of Nokona and have to stay true to who we are, authentic to who we are," he says.
Which is exactly what Carpenter has done with his line of gloves. Carpenter said the idea that the future of gloves would be in synthetic materials came to him in 1999, and if he needed any justification he got it from three-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens, who played a big part in popularizing the mesh back used in today’s gloves and was vocal about the advantage that a lighter glove gave him on the mound.

"Roger Clemens is a big guy, a heavy guy, and for him to notice a one-and-a-half ounce difference in his glove and believe that it affects his performance says a lot about the advantages that lightness give," Carpenter says.

Carpenter’s research claims that the difference in glove weight affects a pitcher’s windup mechanics and balance on the rubber, and how over the course of a high pitch count a lighter glove can save an unquantified amount of energy.

From a fielder’s perspective, Carpenter says, "if you think of a bad hop and fielding a bad hop with your glove, when you have to cross your body and try to locate the pocket of your glove onto the new location of that bad hop, the only feature of that glove that’s going to help you locate the pocket in front of that glove in time is a lighter, faster (glove) versus heavier, slower."

Carpenter said that design challenges such as avoiding wrinkles and bubbling in the pocket of the glove and keeping the pocket’s rounded form forces glove makers to find some sort of middle ground between having too much and too little synthetic material.

Whether leather or synthetic, Dick Grapenthin, Vice President of the Mizuno Diamond Division, believes that based on market trends, detailed customization will be a key for the future of gloves.

"If you look back 20 years ago at the gloves on the market and look what’s on the market now, what’s really happened is the winner here has been the consumer because the the product out there now is of great value compared to what it was 15 years ago, 20 years ago," he says.

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On July 28 in Los Angeles, the X Games, now in their 17th edition, once again return to where it all began.

The bikes and riders have changed over the years, not to an unrecognizable extent, but like returning to Southern California, BMX has come a bit full circle.

"Sometimes it's laughable to me when I think back, like, 'How did we ever get to this?'" says Dennis McCoy, who still competes at age 44. "In the early-'80s, you were worried about what your bike weighed. And then it just completely disappeared there in the '90s. It didn’t matter how heavy it was. And now suddenly it’s back to people drilling out bike parts to shave ounces here and there."

BMX racers desired lighter bikes because they accelerated faster and turned curves quicker. However, once the sport shifted toward freestyle -- something the bikes were never intended to do -- broken parts and instability were all too common. McCoy notes that not only was this annoying, but it was dangerous, too.

Once most of the top manufacturers were all up to speed producing similar bikes, rider-owned companies began producing burlier products that would hold up to the punishment riders were now dishing out.

Mat Hoffman, known as the next thing in BMX by that time, left his sponsorship with Haro after its namesake sold the company and the sport was experiencing a bit of a slump. People began to think BMX was just a fad, but "The Condor," as he is known because of his high-flying abilities, saw his passion differently and started his own company in 1991 to hold up to the new era of freestyle.

"After about the third or fourth time you're going to the hospital because a part on your bike broke and you're thinking about, 'Wow, that could be designed so much better,' and you have a friend who breaks his neck because his forks break, you're like, 'Wait a minute, this is starting to get real serious,'" Hoffman says. "We don’t just scrape our shins whenever our bike messes up anymore. So it was time for me to reengineer a bike where I can do whatever I want with it and it's going to stay together.

"We just knew the places that had the most stress, and we just rebuilt and redesigned. A lot of those things couldn't be redesigned because all the parts were designed around that part, so we redesigned everything over again."

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Simultaneously, as more and more big manufacturers bailed from the thought-to-be sinking ship, Hoffman launched the Bicycle Stunt series in 1992, and helped breathe life back into the sport. This helped to reestablish the underground community as the decision-makers and left riders in full control of the direction of their sport.

In a few years, the progression of freestyle BMX reached new highs, and soon it garnered the interest of ESPN. In 1995, the inaugural X Games, known then as the Extreme Games, were held in Newport, R.I., with some 200,000 spectators there to witness it. Hoffman took vert ramp gold, followed by the next dominant rider, Dave Mirra from New York. McCoy placed fourth behind Canadian Jay Miron.

It was during this era -- BMX's return to the mainstream, yet in the hands of the people who invented and continued to reinvent the sport -- that bike makers put an emphasis on strength over weight.

"A lot of rider-owned companies made efforts to beef up the product, and at the time, that meant making things thicker and making it heavier," McCoy says. "I don't think we really realized that was happening. All of a sudden we were riding these 40-pound bikes that weren't really allowing us to ride to our full potential. It just became something you accepted. Your bike wasn't going to be super-fast, but it would hold up to the abuse that you would put it through."

Rims went from 36-spoked to 48. Axels, the metal rod that goes through a wheel's hub and connects the wheel to the forks in the case of the bike's front, and to the dropouts in the case of the back, went from three-eighths-inch to one-half. Dropouts went from three-sixteenths to quarter-inch.

Hoffman explains that this phase lasted until about 1997.

"There was [a] time when we would make the bikes bulletproof," he says. "We were all just about going bigger and bigger and bigger, and our bikes were just breaking at the time, and we were getting injured from that. It all began to let up so we could push are sport as hard as possible. But then once we were pushing it so hard to the level it is now, we were able to kind of go, 'OK, well, what is necessary?' and see if we were overemphasizing the structure of this area, because we just wanted to be completely safe."

In the early 2000s, riders began to get experimental in attempts to lighten their load. Since then, things have changed, but Hoffman says the quality remains the same, if not better.

"It's kind of like all managing the weight more now with the bike," he says. "A bike that's lighter is just easier to throw around. And it's just not as strenuous on the body. So we started designing the bikes so there's less stress on our bodies, because our bodies are the ones that were starting to break."

Titanium is now used more often for components like sprockets, many riders are back to using 36-spoke rims, and frames are almost entirely produced out of 4130 chromoly, a steel alloy predominately composed of by iron, with small amounts of chromium and molybdenum, hence the name. This is a desirable material because of its strength-to-weight ratio, stiffness yet ability to flex, and weldability.

Hoffman, known as much for his incredible feats on a bike as his number of surgeries and injuries from falls off it -- he survived a brush with death in 1993 after taking a serious spill that left him internally bleeding from a ruptured spleen -- continues to ride at age 39. He doesn't so much compete anymore, but does the occasional show, and is, more or less, just enjoying the ride.

"When I first got into this, I thought this was the greatest sport in the world, so I'm surprised it took so long for everyone else to kind of think so," he says. "Every session could be my last, so I just make sure it's pure and it's for fun."

In the meantime, the sport continues to progress with mesmerizing tricks at mind-boggling heights off unfathomable ramps. Britain's Jamie Bestwick continues to dominate all facets of freestyle BMX, a number of Hoffman Bikes team riders, including Kevin Robinson, pull unbelievable new tricks each year, and the sport's future stars, namely New Zealand's Jed Mildon who pulled off a triple backflip in May, are starting their legacies quickly.

BMX Racing has also stuck around and done well, too. Though it is not an event in the X Games, since 2008 it has been a summer Olympic sport, and will compete next at the 2012 Games in London. The other BMX Olympic news is that as of April, there has been talk of adding freestyle to the 2016 Games in Rio De Janeiro.

In the interim, younger riders' ability to learn and achieve new tricks at places like Camp Woodward, a sports camp in Woodward, Pa., with an emphasis on action sports, has also created rapid progression within the sport. Rather than dreaming up performing a backflip and learning on thrift store mattresses, as Hoffman did, riders have the opportunity to grasp dangerous maneuvers and experiment with new ones in foam pits. The expansion of the sport and Woodward's popularity has led the camp to open three more locations, one in California, another in Colorado, and most recently one in Beijing.

"Without a doubt, it has led to progression in terms of what is possible on a bike," McCoy says. "Things will continue to get crazier. Tricks will get more advanced. The next year, harder stuff will be done than the year before."

"That's the beauty of what we do," says Hoffman. "It's sport as art. It's just a wide-open canvas and it's only limited by your imagination. It's completely contingent on whoever is holding onto the handlebars and dreaming. Who knows what people will be dreaming up tomorrow?"

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"Sit up straight." "Don't slouch."

Enough already, right?

Whether you are a baseball pitcher or a software programmer sitting in front of a computer, bad posture is one of your worst enemies. It's a symptom of core weakness, and research shows that a weak core can lead to injuries in all walks of life.

We just don't like hearing about it, whether from Mom or the ergonomics expert at work.

But outside of good training habits, strong discipline or an omnipresent mother, we don't have many devices to monitor and fix our posture. This is where "Perfect Practice" comes in.

It's a small, portable device that sits on the lower back, and it beeps when your posture gets out of line.

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Officials from four major league teams -- the Royals, Rays, Indians and Pirates -- are researching the device and according to the makers, more then 500 professional athletes have used it. That doesn't include a number of professional ballet dancers who swear by the beep.

"There is really no way today to measure and monitor your posture in a functional position," says one of the developers Chris McKenzie, an adjunct assistant professor at the Ohio State University College of Medicine. "We need an external feedback to tell us how we are doing and this device will make that feedback readily available."

For a price, of course -- though McKenzie insists it will be an affordable one.

More and more research suggests that a strong core is the central piece of the fitness puzzle. Since 2006, Dr. Ajit Chaudhari, an assistant professor of orthopedics at OSU, has studied the role of core stability in the "prevention and treatment of injuries across the entire body."

"If you can't maintain a good posture, you don't have good core stability,” Chaudhari says. "Stability is being able to keep yourself in good position even when your body is perturbed. A stable core and good posture helps maximize your body's range of motion and performance."

Chaudhair and McKenzie cycled through multiple prototypes before settling on the latest version, which they hope to bring to market by the end of 2011.

The idea is that when the device does become commercially available it will help prevent injuries and, by extension, save a bundle on health care costs.

Corporations, for example, spend millions on ergonomics in the work place, training employees on good desk habits that are wholly dependent upon the employee not forgetting about them. Perfect Practice would serve as a continuous reminder, keeping employees informed even after the training is over.

For the baseball pitcher, Perfect Practice can be used to pinpoint flaws in a delivery that could lead to an injury and land them on the disabled list. Ohio State hurlers are already using the device.

"We don't have to lie down on a large ball or depend on expensive motion capture systems at a clinic just to get this feedback," McKenzie says.

Whether you prefer that feedback coming in the form of a machine's beep or a mother's squawk is up to you.

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Abs, Fitness