Breakdancing Added to the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris
By Danielle Dorsey
Breakdancing has been provisionally added as a competition sport in the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. The proposal reflects a shift towards making the worldwide competition more urban and artistic. Surfing, climbing, and skateboarding were also added to the 2024 program and will debut at the Tokyo Games in 2020. Squash, chess, and billiards will not be included in the 2024 Games, nor will karate, although the sport will make its Olympic debut at the 2020 Games. The decision on whether L.A. will host a breakdancing portion of the Olympic games is expected to be reached in 2021.
The Bronx-born dance gained international attention at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires in 2018. Russia’s Sergei Chernyshev, who competed under the name “Bumblebee”, took home the gold medal for the boys and Japan’s Ramu Kawai winning the girls’ title. It is suspected that the same head-to-head battle format would be used at the 2024 Games.
While this move could mean more inclusivity at the Games, some members of the breakdancing community are suspicious of how contestants will be judged and the qualifications of said judges. As the Olympics first dance sport, breakdancing would fall under the domain of the World DanceSport Federation, an organization that is best-known for ballroom dancing.
World DanceSport Federation Senior Advisor Jean-Laurent Bourquin acknowledges that a separate organization could have been created, but that doing so would have stalled the inclusion of breakdancing into the Olympics.
“It would mean that breaking could have been in the Olympics in 2040, for example,” Bourquin said. “We have no time to waste for the new generation that is just coming and who is dreaming to be in Paris or in Los Angeles. I think what people do not realize is that, OK, we could have let the breaking community start in its own way, but they would have gone through many fights between the U.S. and Europe, between the U.S. and Japan, between Korea and Japan, between China and France. And it would have been painful without a concrete result.”
Mike Cannon, who dances with the Philly Surfers, told the Philadelphia Inquirer that the inclusion of breakdancing as an Olympic sport could shift the emphasis from passion to technique, saying, “Our founding fathers laid down a foundation for us that was supposed to be based on us knowing our curriculum, and studying things like that. Not off us laying down moves to be judged upon. Because the judge doesn’t always know what the heart feels.”
Time will tell when the IOC takes steps to involve the hip-hop community in the new breakdancing category. Last year, Chance The Rapper was enlisted to assist in the production of the 50th anniversary of the Special Olympics in his hometown of Chicago. Hopefully, the IOC calls upon more rappers to properly welcome breakdancing into the Olympics.