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Breaking goes from being an urban dance to an Olympic sport

Breaking or breakdancing gets Olympic status. This new event will debut at the Paris Games in 2024

Breakdancing is now an Olympic sport. (Photo: Istockphoto)
Breakdancing is now an Olympic sport. (Photo: Istockphoto)

Breakdancing is one of the first 'urban' pursuits to become an Olympic sport.

On December 8, The International Olympic Committee officially added it to the medal events program at the 2024 Paris Games. The other events confirmed for Paris by the IOC executive board were skateboarding, sport climbing, and surfing. Those three sports will make their Olympic debuts at the Tokyo Games which were postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic by one year to open on July 23, 2021.

Alongside these additions, the IOC made subtractions. The slate of 329 medal events in Paris is 10 fewer than in Tokyo. This includes four events cut from weightlifting, and the athlete quota in 2024 of 10,500 is around 600 less than Tokyo 2021.

Breakdancing will be called 'breaking' at the Olympics, as it was in the 1970s by its hip-hop pioneers in the United States. The first DanceSport event to become a part of the summer Olympics, it was proposed by Paris organizers almost two years ago after positive trials at the 2018 Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires. Breaking passed further stages of approval in 2019 from separate decisions by the IOC board.

When the news was announced, the World DanceSport Federation (WDSF) president Shawn Tay hailed it as a"historic occasion". “Today is a historic occasion not only for b-boys and b-girls but for all dancers around the world,” he said, adding, “The WDSF could not be prouder to have Breaking included at Paris 2024, and we thank everyone who helped make it possible: the Executive Board of the IOC, the Paris 2024 organisers, the WDSF staff and, most importantly, the Breaking community itself." In Paris, breaking has been given a prestigious downtown venue, joining sport climbing and 3-on-3 basketball at the Place de le Concorde.

Mounir Baba, a French b-boy and a judge at the 2018 Youth Olympics expressed his joy at the decision. “It is a big step forward and a historical moment. Starting from nothing 50 years ago, Breaking was built on its own but it has now found a family. It only remains for us to live up to the honour bestowed upon us, but I am fully confident we will," he said.

Breaking or breakdancing originated in New York's dance clubs in the 1970s, with dancers performing improvisational steps, athletic and creative at the same time, to percussion breaks during DJ sets. Over the last 50 years, breaking has grown to become a huge part of dance and hip hop culture, and now it's a sport.

(With inputs from PTI)

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