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Breakdancing to make Olympics debut at Paris 2024

GENEVA: Breakdancing was one of four new sports along with skateboarding, surfing and sport climbing to get the Olympic green light for inclusion at the 2024 Paris Games.

The four sports were included as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) executive board met to confirm the Paris 2024 programme. Skateboarding, sport climbing, and surfing have already been added to the programme for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which will take place in 2021 after being postponed by a year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The introduction of breaking was one of the results of the Olympic Agenda 2020, Bach said. “We had a clear priority to introduce sports (that are) particularly popular among the younger generation and taking into consideration the urbanisation of sport.”

Breakdancing, which grew up alongside hip hop in the South Bronx of New York in the 1970s and is officially known in sport terms as “breaking”, appeared at the 2018 Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires. Russia’s Sergei Chernyshev, competing under the nickname Bumblebee, won the first breakdancing gold medal for boys in that event while Japan’s Ramu Kawai won the girls’ title.

“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 World Dance Sport Federation (WDSF). “The WDSF could not be prouder to have breaking included at Paris 2024… 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.”

Federations of sports that already have Olympic status were left disappointed in their bid to increase events within their sports as IOC president Thomas Bach said that none of the proposed 41 events would be included in Paris.

While some sports substituted in some events within their existing event numbers, Bach said medal events had actually gone down from 339 to 329. He said the athletes’ quota for Paris had been fixed at 10,500, including those participating in the four new sports. This represents a decrease of 600 from Tokyo Games, while gender equality would be attained for the first time in Olympic history in Paris.

The question of gender equality led to the demise of the men’s 50km race walk, which first appeared at the 1932 Olympics. IOC sports director Kit McConnell said the event would be replaced by a “mixed-gender event”.

There was a decision to reach gender equality by removing the men’s 50km race walk, rather than introducing a women’s version, McConnell said, adding that the men and women’s 20km race walks would remain. The replacement event will not be a mixed cross country which World Athletics had been pushing hard for.