Reporting From Lausanne, Switzerland – The International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session has given its unanimous approval for the sport of ‘breaking’ (known too as breakdancing) to appear on the Olympic program for the first time at Paris 2024. It could join other proposed sports including climbing, skateboarding and surfing if the IOC Executive Board finalizes the decision in December 2020.
The decision Tuesday is the next to last step needed to confirm that the pop culture phenomenon made famous by movies and artists in the 1980’s, will be an Olympic sport. Earlier this year, the Paris 2024 organizing committee proposed the four sports, and the IOC Programme Commission gave the green light.
Breaking is an athletic street-style dance that contains technical moves including ‘drops’, where the athletes known as b-boys and b-girls transition to the floor. The sport was developed in 1956 and is governed by the World Dancesport Federation.
Paris 2024 bid Chief Tony Estanguet said “The IOC made clear that we should not start from the additional sports of Tokyo 2020, but we should start with a blank page.”
Estanguet said that the choice of sports was driven by the desire for universality, sustainability, gender equality and the need to connect with French culture and youth culture.
The additional program includes one less sport and almost half the athletes – 248 compared with 474 – compared with Tokyo 2020.
Estanguet claimed the proposed sports are inclusive and create little risk to the Games plan, he said “Breaking, you can do it anywhere, you just need music; skateboarding can be done in the street; anywhere there are waves you can surf; anywhere there are rocks you can climb.”
The plan is to stage these events in iconic locations.
Climbing, skateboarding and surfing are already one-time additions to the Tokyo 2020 program, and their performance at that event will be scrutinized. The other Tokyo 2020 additions, baseball/softball and karate, are not being considered for Paris.
The results of the monitoring program will be examined by the program commission in November 2020 and a report will be delivered to the IOC Executive Board. The final decision to include any or all of the sports will be made at a December 2020 Executive Board meeting.
Breaking caught the attention of Paris organizers after it became a successful fan-favourite at the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games. Both breaking and climbing made their Olympic debuts at those Games while surfing and skateboarding will make their first Olympic appearances next year in Tokyo.
A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of GamesBids.com as well as providing freelance support for print and Web publications around the world. Robert Livingstone is a member of the Olympic Journalists Association and the International Society of Olympic Historians.