When is spinning around on your back over and over a sport? In the Olympics.
Seeking to attract younger viewers for the international games — ratings have flagged of late — the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Monday announced that breakdancing has been added as a sport for the 2024 games being held in Paris.
“Today is a historic occasion, not only for b-boys and b-girls but for all dancers around the world,” said Shawn Tay, president of the World DanceSport Federation (WDSF).
Other sports added include skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing, all of which will debut at the delayed Olympics in Tokyo in 2021.
In 2024, the dance-offs will take place at a downtown venue in Paris. Under the plans, 16 b-boys and 16 b-girls — the term used for competitive breakers, or breakdancers — will compete in one-on-one battles.
The IOC’s move drew some scorn from other athletes.
“You just look at the whole thing and you just go ‘where’s the Olympics going?’ I know some people say breakdancing’s a sport but … I don’t understand,” Australian squash great Michelle Martin told The Guardian, adding that the Games have become a “mockery.”
“The Olympics was all about a score, or it was a running race. There was a definitive answer and results to sports. You bring in all these judging things and it just gets so corrupt and so out of control. I just don’t get it anymore,” she said.
But then again, Martin plays squash — which is not an Olympic sport.
Adding breakdancing — to be called “breaking” in the Games — was in the works for the last couple years. “It was proposed by Paris organizers almost two years ago after positive trials at the 2018 Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires. Breaking passed further stages of approval in 2019 from separate decisions by the IOC board and full membership,” ESPN reported.
“It is with immense joy and a touch of relief that we welcome this unprecedented decision,” said Mounir Biba, a French b-boy and Breaking ambassador who was a judge at the Buenos Aires games. “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.”
At the 2018 Youth Olympics, there were three medals events that drew crowds of more than 30,000 people each day, according to the WDSF, CNN reported.
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