PARIS – The Paris 2024 Olympic Games organizers proposed on Thursday the inclusion of breakdancing as a new sport, a first for the Olympics.
Tony Estanguet, the president of the Paris games’ organizing committee and a three-time Olympic champion in canoeing, said that breakdancing was to be presented before the International Olympic Committee along with three other sports – climbing, surfing and skateboarding – that were set to make their Olympic debut in Tokyo 2020.
“With more than a million B-Boys and B-Girls in France, we propose to bring breakdance and its famous battles to Paris 2024 for the first time in the history of the Games,” the Paris 2024 committee said on its official Twitter account.
The proposal must now be approved by the IOC, which has to finalize its decision on the inclusion of any new sports by Dec. 2020, a few months after the upcoming Tokyo Games.
In order for a sport to be under consideration by the IOC, it must first have support of an international federation which completes questionnaires filled with information on the proposed sport, such as gender equity, worldwide participation and interest from sports watchers – which is often measured by TV audience size, as well as social media popularity.
Also, the IOC and international federations consider the estimated costs when it comes to holding each new sport at an Olympic venue.
By introducing breakdancing, Paris 2024 organizers aim to highlight a sport that is heavy on innovation and creativity.
Estanguet said that breakdancing was an acrobatic activity that was very different from everything seen so far in the Olympics, adding that it demands discipline and rigor beyond the ordinary.
In its proposed Olympic version, breakdancers compete in duels while a DJ plays music to which the participants have not performed before, which will force the athletes-cum-artists to improvise and adapt rapidly.
An important consideration for any Olympic planning committee is how well each new sport will do with the Millennial generation, and the Paris games organizers expect all four new sports to do well with this demographic.
Beyond breakdancing, Paris 2024 organizers stressed that surfing, a 200-year-old sport, has around 35 million practitioners worldwide, skateboarding has 30 million and climbing is also quite popular, especially among young people.
The Paris 2024 summer Olympics are set to take place from July 26 until Aug. 11 in the French capital.