Holy Cow Jumping!
Part dance, part gymnastics, this ancient French sport is so localized that most French people have never even heard of it. Course Landaise originated in the 1500s and was inspired by the Spanish custom of the running of the bulls.
In Course Landaise the players are athletic gymnasts who literally leap over and spin away from charging cows (said to be faster and smarter than bulls) for arenas full of enthusiastic fans. The athletes are divided into two roles: jumpers literally leap over the cows performing impressive flips, while the spreaders spin to avoid the charging animals. Live musical accompaniment is an integral part of the show.
This lively video by Time.com introduces Course Landaise with plenty of footage of the dangerous and graceful sport. In an interview, eight-time jumping champion Nicolas Vergonzeanne says practicing gymnastics with cows gives him a thrill which feeds his adrenalin addiction. Injuries are common and Vergonzeanne describes one accident in which both he and the cow were knocked out.
Video Journalist: Laurent Laughlin
Producer: Jacob Templin
Supervising Producer: Craig Duff