“LAUSANNE, December 8, 2020 – Just as its success at the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018 left a lasting impression on the Olympic movement, breaking is determined to make its presence at the highest level of competitive sports count in Paris in 2024.
Breaking was officially included in the programme for the 2024 Olympic Games on Monday by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as part of plans to make the event “more gender balanced, more youthful and more urban”. Surfing, skateboarding and sport climbing – which are part of next year’s Tokyo Games – were also confirmed for Paris.
“The WDSF (World DanceSport Federation) 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,” said WDSF President Shawn Tay.
“It was a true team effort to get to this moment and we will redouble our efforts in the lead-up to the Olympic Games to make sure the Breaking competition at Paris 2024 will be unforgettable.”
One of breaking’s star attractions at Buenos Aires 2018 was Bumblebee. The Russian, whose real name is Sergey Chernyshev, won the first breaking gold medal for boys at the Urban Park in Buenos Aires and is hoping to make more history at Paris 2024, when he would be 24 years old.
In an interview with Olympic Channel, published in October, he said: “Why would it be important for me to perform in Paris? Because it is again about making history, but on a different scale. And I understand that if I manage to do it, the scale would be doubled. It would be a double historical event for the athlete, in this case for me. It’s a big responsibility and a lot of excitement.”
The breaking competition at Paris 2024 will feature 16 b-boys and 16 b-girls competing in one vs one battles to be staged at a prestigious downtown venue at Place de la Concorde.
Mounir Biba, a French b-boy and breaking ambassador, who was a judge at the Buenos Aires YOG, said: “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.
“There are many passionate people on the ground around the world doing a tremendous job every day to nurture and preserve the culture of breaking. The sporting journey that we are on will only strengthen the position that I have always defended, namely that we are athletes! I commend the willingness of the Paris 2024 organisers, the work of the WDSF and the choice of the IOC to include our sport in the Paris Olympic Games. See you in 2024 for a great show.”
Amid the delight of the WDSF, some have expressed concerns that breaking may lose its authenticity as an Olympic sport.
“There’s been quite some controversy inside the scene,” said Logan “Logistx” Edra, a 17-year-old b-girl from San Diego, California, as quoted by USA Today. “It’s basically making sure that we preserve the essence and the culture, and that it doesn’t get lost in the competitive grind as we continue to progress and make steps into the Olympics.”
But Bumblebee is of the opinion that: “Breaking …. now also has a sporting path. Many people, in fact, worried in vain that sports would eat up the cultural component of the art form but everything remains, everything works harmoniously together,” he says to the WDSF. “The prize money has grown, the budgets of the festivals have grown. In general, the demand for breaking is growing, so the dancers have more commercial opportunities as well.”
Breaking was a centre of attention at the first edition of the World Urban Games (WUG) in September 2019 in Budapest, Hungary. It will also feature at the next edition of the World Games scheduled for July 2022 in Birmingham, Alabama, USA.
The IOC confirmed in December 2019 that breaking would return for the next summer Youth Olympic Games in Dakar, Senegal, which were postponed from 2022 to 2026 due to COVID-19. “