Breakdancing, the urban inspired dance genre that translates to the sports arena in the form of ‘Breaking,’ may get a chance to shine at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games if the International Olympic Committee (IOC) gives formal approval.
On Thursday the Paris 2024 Olympic organizing committee proposed that breaking, along with three sports that have also been invited to the Tokyo 2020 Games – skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing – be added to the event schedule. The proposal will be officially presented to the IOC Executive Board at a meeting beginning March 26 before the full IOC membership votes on the recommendation at a Session at the end of June.
The IOC will wait until December 2020, after the Tokyo Games, before confirming the four new inclusions.
The announcement also means that karate, and baseball and softball will not return to the Games in 2024 after both earned a one-time invitation to the Tokyo Olympics having a cultural connection. Other sports that had recently launched public campaigns to appear at the Olympics – squash, snooker, chess and motorcycling – will also be left at the sidelines.
Nineteen Olympic recognized sports overall had submitted bids.
Paris 2024 characterized the four proposed sports as having “a strong youth appeal, a connection with France and the vision of Paris 2024 and an emphasis on creativity and athletic performance.”
With one million participants, France is said to have the second largest breaking community in the world next to the Unites States. Of those, 80 percent are under the age of 18. Breaking was featured with success at the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games.
Breaking is proposing two competitions, the men’s and women’s “battles” with 16 athletes in each event.
“It is an incredible honour and privilege that, for the first time, a dance discipline is being considered for inclusion in the Olympic Games,” World DanceSport Federation (WDSF) President Shawn Tay said.
“It is a humbling experience for all members and supporters of DanceSport.”
The selection of breaking is also consistent with IOC goals of embracing sports with youth appeal, accessibility and sustainability. Competing is inexpensive and competitions can be held in existing outdoor urban settings.
International Surfing Association (ISA) President Fernando Aguerre said “Today is another amazing milestone in Surfing’s Olympic wave. We are excited and humbled that Paris 2024 has included Surfing on its list of proposed sports for the 2024 Olympic Games.”
“This announcement takes us one step closer towards our goal of long-term Olympic inclusion.”
Squash, the most persistent of the would-be Olympic sports has now failed in its fourth consecutive bid to be included on the program.
In a joint statement, the World Squash Federation (WSF) and Professional Squash Association (PSA) suggested new sports were being shut out of the process.
It read “The proposed list of four sports only, of which three sports are already confirmed by the IOC on the Tokyo 2020 Olympic programme, leads to a belief that Paris 2024 and the IOC favoured sports already in the Olympic programme, leaving practically no opportunity for other sports.”
Despite ongoing preparations for the 2020 Games, the World Karate Federation (WKF) tweeted that is was saddened by the news of being excluded from the cut.
“Over the last months, we have worked relentlessly, together with the French Federation, to achieve our goal of being included in Paris 2024,” WKF President Antonio Espinós said in a statement.
“We believed that we had met all the requirements and that we had the perfect conditions to be added to the sports program, however, we have learned today that our dream will not be coming true.”
World Baseball and Softball Confederation (WBSC) President Riccardo Fraccari said on his Facebook page “I want to congratulate these sports. I also guarantee that WBSC remains committed to boosting the growth of baseball-softball in France and around the world.”
“As WBSC we continue to believe our inclusive, accessible sports can serve to promote the Olympic Values across the world.
“We will continue working with the Olympic Movement in the lead up to our spectacular Olympic comeback in Tokyo 2020. And we already focus on Los Angeles 2028”
Baseball and softball weren’t expected to chosen for the Paris program due to the need for specific stadiums not available across France.