USOPC Breaking

Break Dancing Among 4 Sports Provisionally Added to 2024 Olympic Program

by Chrös McDougall

An athlete competes in breaking at the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018 on Oct. 7, 2018 in Buenos Aires.
An athlete competes in breaking at the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018 on Oct. 7, 2018 in Buenos Aires.

If you see a break dancer busting a move in front of the Eiffel Tower in 2024, she might just be dancing her way to a gold medal.

Breaking, climbing, skateboarding and surfing have been provisionally added to the 2024 Olympic program, the International Olympic Committee decided in a unanimous vote Tuesday at its session in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The Paris 2024 organizers proposed the sports for one-time inclusion in March. A final decision on the 2024 program is expected at the IOC executive board meeting in December 2020.

Skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing will be contested for the first time at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, while breaking would make its Olympic debut in Paris. The sport was previously contested at the Summer Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018, where climbing also made its debut on an Olympic level.

The sports represent the IOC’s aim of reaching younger, more diverse audiences. In addition, IOC President Thomas Bach noted the four sports would contribute to greater gender balance and sustainability, key goals outlined in the Olympic Agenda 2020 reforms.

The proposed sports would include 248 athletes, with equal numbers of men and women, while keeping the total list of total participants in Paris within the 10,500 limit. The IOC also said 95 percent of the venues would be either existing or temporary.

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IOC representatives and local organizers will observe the sports in the coming months, including at the 2020 Games, to determine if they should be accepted into the final program.

Breaking, a style of dancing that begin in the 1970s in New York City, features dancers called B-boys and B-girls performing to upbeat music and being judged on creativity, technique, variety, musicality, performance and personality. A men’s and a women’s event are proposed, with 16 athletes each.

In a change from the 2020 Games, climbing would have two events each for men and women: combined bouldering & lead, and speed. Tokyo 2020 will feature one combined event for each gender. The number of participants would also rise from 20 men and 20 women in Tokyo to 36 on each side in Paris.

Skateboarding would include men’s and women’s events in the street and park disciplines, while surfing would have a men’s and women’s shortboard event. Both match the disciplines that will be contested in Tokyo. However, both would add participants, with skateboarding having 48 for each gender (up from 40 in Tokyo), and surfing 24 per gender (up from 20 in Tokyo).

Not included on the list of provisional sports for Paris are baseball and softball. Those sports were removed from the Olympic program following the 2008 Games in Beijing, but the Tokyo 2020 organizers added them back in for 2020, utilizing the new IOC rule that allowed host countries to add select sports on a one-time basis.

Karate was also added to the 2020 Games using that provision and will not be contested in 2024.

Chrös McDougall has covered the Olympic movement for since 2009 on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc. He is based in Minneapolis-St. Paul.

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