Geneva, December 8
Breakdancing has become an official Olympic sport.
The International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) pursuit of urban events to lure a younger audience saw street dance battles officially added to the medal events program at the 2024 Paris Games.
Also confirmed for Paris by the IOC executive board were skateboarding, sport climbing, and surfing. These three sports will make their Olympics debuts at the Tokyo Games which were postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic by one year to open on July 23, 2021.
Alongside the additions, the IOC made substraction: The slate of 329 medal events in Paris is 10 fewer than in Tokyo, including four lost from weightlifting, and the athlete quota in 2024 of 10,500 is around 600 less than 2021.
Two sports with troubled governing bodies — boxing and weightlifting — saw the biggest cuts to the number of athletes they can have in Paris. Weightlifting should have 120 athletes in Paris, which is less than half of its total at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games. The sport could be dropped entirely due to its doping problems and IOC concerns over the pace and depth of reform at the International Weightlifting Federation. The IOC stressed its future priorities for Paris, and beyond to the 2028 Los Angeles Games, by claiming it will hit a long-term target of equal participation by men and women athletes, and more urbanised events.
With Paris organisers needing time to prepare their project, the IOC kept to its pre-pandemic schedule to confirm the 2024 sports lineup this month even before some are tested in Tokyo. Breakdancing will be called ‘breaking’ at the Olympics, as it was in the 1970s by hip-hop pioneers in the United States.
It was proposed by Paris organisers almost two years ago after positive trials at the 2018 Youth Olympics. Breaking passed further stages of approval in 2019 from separate decisions by the IOC board and full membership.
In Paris, breaking has been given a prestige downtown venue, joining sport climbing and 3-on-3 basketball at Place de le Concorde. Surfing will be held more than 15,000km away in the Pacific Ocean off Tahiti. — AP/PTI