City Sports Employees Are Taking Flight At the Red Bull Flugtag Competition
Greg Zuckerman has jumped off of some high cliffs before—but never has he done it while being launched from a platform, riding a giant replica of a treadmill with nothing but an oversize T-shirt to glide him safely into the water below.
On Saturday, however, he’ll get that chance as he travels to Washington, D.C., with employees from City Sports to take part in the annual Red Bull Flugtag competition. “This is honestly a childhood dream of mine,” Zuckerman said. “I have always watched the Flugtag and seen the commercials, and thought it was hilarious and cool, so it definitely was nice to [be asked to participate].”
Red Bull’s annual Flugtag event, where companies build one-of-a-kind vessels and push them off a 30-foot platform, is simultaneously taking place in five cities across the country this year for the first time ever. Events are taking place in Chicago, Miami, Dallas, Long Beach, California, and Washington, D.C.
The first-ever Flugtag—sponsored by Red Bull, that is—was held in 1992 overseas. In 2002, the event made its way to San Francisco, and attracted 25,000 spectators to watch as the vehicles plummeted from the platforms and into the ocean.
Participants can take home the gold at the competition based on the judges’ scores. Entrants are judged on their dance moves, the design of their vehicle, and how far the craft travels once it takes flight.
Zuckerman said City Sports, the only competitor from Boston taking part in this year’s Flugtag, has been working on their structure, dubbed “The Flying Tee,” for weeks, and plans to take it to Washington, D.C., on Thursday. “I’m super, super excited. If you ever go to YouTube and watch some of the videos, there are some pretty gnarly crashes. But you have got to take a little risk to get a reward,” he said.
Zuckerman has faith in the design of the City Sports vehicle, however. Inspired by the company’s 30th anniversary celebration, taking place this year, a team of employees, including Zuckerman, the company’s footwear buyer, and Greg McEachern, director of creative and visual merchandising for City Sports, have been crafting a large replica of a treadmill, with a huge T-shirt attached, bearing the City Sports shoe logo, as their vessel for the competition. “Initially the idea was to have a giant sneaker with some sort of wings, and then I thought, ‘why don’t we do our T-shirts,’ which we are really known for,” said McEachern. “I liked the idea of doing a treadmill, too, and it gives [Zuckerman] a nice platform to stand on and run off.”
“The Flying Tee” team is also going to be representing Boston Strong. “What we had happen was devastating, and a lot of people we know have been involved on a personal level,” said McEachern. “I think this is another opportunity for us to go down and represent Boston and be Boston strong.”
According to event sponsors, teams were chosen to participate based on information they provided on the application for the contest. A special event committee then sorted through all the applications and cleared top applicants for takeoff.
The event will be broadcast live on ESPN to millions of viewers around the country. For more about “The Flying Tee” team from City Sports, and to track their progress on the project, follow them on the Flugtag team page.
Below is a video of Red Bull’s “best” Flugtag competitions over the years: