Jeffrey LouisUSOPC BreakingNews

Breaker Jeffrey Louis On The Letter He Wrote To Try To Get Breaking Added To The Olympics

by Lisa Costantini

Jeffrey "B-boy Jeffro" Louis poses for a portrait at the 2024 Team USA Media Summit on April 17, 2024 in New York. (Photo by Getty Images)

It’s impossible to put breaker Jeffrey Louis in a box — and not just because he’s a master of movement.

When the 29-year-old created FitBreak, a fitness program that combines breaking movement with traditional fitness exercises, he wanted to show people that there is a lot you can do with a breaking background.

A lot of breakers, he said, get into the mindset that once you get into your 30s the only way to continue in the industry is to open a dance studio or be a background dancer. 

“Why can’t you be the main actor?” Louis asked. “So, I’m trying to advocate that, no, there is a lot you can do with breaking.”

Now with the sport of breaking on the Olympic program for the first time at the Olympic Games Paris 2024, he said the opportunities are endless. 

“It’s interesting,” said Louis about his sport taking the global stage. “A lot of breakers feel we’ve got to keep the hip hop, keep it underground.” The problem with doing that, he said, is that you can’t shine a lot on the sport by keeping it in the dark.

By showcasing breaking in Paris, “we’re going to enhance what we’re doing in the underground scene,” he said.

Having learned breaking at 12, after his older brother taught him the basics, Bboy Jeffro — the name he got in middle school thanks to his “‘fro” — had been hoping breaking would get added to the Olympic program for a long time.

In 2018, when breaking was first included in the Youth Olympic Games, the Houston native had just graduated from the University of Houston with a sports kinesiology degree. Wanting to get involved, he admitted to writing a letter to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to encourage them to add it to other editions.

“I didn’t get a response back,” he laughed. “The email was probably poorly written, but I tried. I wanted to be a part of it somehow.”

Later this month, Louis — who took home silver at the Pan American Games Santiago 2023 — will get his chance. The final qualifying event in Budapest, Hungary, will see two Americans vying for the last 2024 U.S. Olympic Team spot in men’s breaking. 

Jeffrey "B-boy Jeffro" Louis competes against Matita during the men's semifinals at the Pan American Games Santiago 2023 on Nov. 4, 2023 in Santiago, Chile. (Photo by Getty Images)

While you won’t see him doing a lot of flashy moves, Louis said his strength lies in understanding movement as that’s what first got him excited about the sport.

“What intrigued me was the movement,” Louis said. As the middle child of three boys, he would watch his older brother get down to music without all the flashy head spins and backflips. 

At parties, he remembers people pushing for the crazy tricks, but Louis was more interested in how his sibling moved to the music, telling him instead to “‘Dance up top. Dance to the music.’ That’s always what interested me. I wanted to see that pure natural movement. That’s what got me into breaking.”

At the end of the day, he said, the most anticipated new sport at the upcoming Games, “is a dance. It all started as a passion and that’s what I want people to take away from it. You will see the training that goes into it, but it is an art,” he shared. “You don’t want to make your art look like work. You want to enjoy it.”

Unfortunately, art is in the eye of the beholder. 

“Even though we try to make breaking objective, it’s still subjective,” Louis said. “You’re judging art that’s transformed into sport. Sometimes I don’t even know why one guy lost. I’ll be like how?”           

Something else he usually doesn’t know is the song choice. Despite the belief that breakers get to choose their music, it comes as a shock to them what gets played.

“Being adaptable is the key,” he said about more than likely never hearing the song being played before. “A lot of people try to fake it and sometimes you can tell. That’s why I try to get with the movement so that I’m able to adapt with good results.”

But if given the choice, Louis would prefer the element of surprise anyway. 

“If I get a song I know and it’s a nice one, I might do good — or bad — because of how hype I am. I might get so hype that I mess myself up,” he laughed. 

Like every athlete, his ultimate goal in Paris is gold, but for him, it’s also about something bigger. 

“I want to use that moment to create something,” he explained. “A lot of people are going to come with moves, but if I don’t win, I want them to pull from that and say, that’s what real essence is.”

Men’s breaking will take place in Paris on Aug. 10, 2024 in La Concorde Urban Park.

Lisa Costantini has covered Olympic and Paralympic sports for more than a decade, including for the International Olympic Committee. She is a freelance writer who has contributed to since 2011.