Breakdancing is an Olympic sport now. The International Olympic Committee has officially added "Breaking" to the medal events program at the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.
The discipline has been added alongside other new categories including skateboarding, sport climbing, and surfing. It's reportedly part of an ongoing effort to draw a younger audience to the games.
The IOC confirmed the decision on Monday. President Thomas Bach explained that the move to make the Games “more gender-balanced, more youthful and more urban.” The choice of word here is a little jarring as "urban" is generally considered to be a lazy substitute term for "Black," and one that the music and fashion industry have moved away from.
Breaking, also called breakdancing or b-boying/b-girling does owe its origin to Black culture. It was created by the African American and Puerto Rican youth in the early 1970s where it developed in New York as a form of artistic expression, taking its name from the “breaks” that hip-hop DJs would loop from popular disco and funk tracks. After a wave of mainstream popularity in the 1980s, Breakdancing began to spread across the globe, and different styles took hold in Brazil, China, South Korea, and beyond.
While the international Breakdancing community has largely embraced the decision, some dancers believe the Olympics could cause the sport to lose some of its authenticity, or devalue aspects of breaking routines that are harder to judge, such as originality and passion.
“There’s been quite some controversy inside the scene,” 17-year-old breakdancer Logan ‘Logistx’ Edra told 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.”
While skateboarding, sport climbing, and surfing will be added to the 2021 Tokoyo events program, don't expect to see Breakdancing until the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.
The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 next year will be the first gender-equal Olympic Games, with an overall 48.8 percent female participation, which will be further increased at Paris 2024, reaching the exact same number of male and female athletes for the first time in Olympic history.