The staple of urban street culture is set to make a splash on its Olympic debut at the Paris 2024 Games. And on Saturday night a 4.000 crowd came to be mesmerised by the moves performed by some of the most skilled exponents of ‘breaking’ at Battle Pro in the French capital.
One b-boy, Stephane Sabotinov, took time out before going on stage to celebrate Thursday’s announcement by Paris 2024 chief Tony Estanguet that breaking was set to become “a future Olympic sport”.
“Breakdance is impressive”, Sabotinov, kitted out in white and black and baseball cap, told AFP. “There’s the battle side of it, we’re here to engage, but with respect. We bump fists at the end even if we’re going to war”.
Sabotinov, one of 120 dancers competing on Saturday evening, hopes breaking’s elevation to the Olympics will erase any “negative stereotypes” surrounding it.
First step in the Youth Games
Breakdancing was part of the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires 2018, with participants competing as b-girls, b-boys and on mixed teams. At the Olympics, the discipline would be known simply as “breaking”.
In Buenos Aires, the b-girls competition was won by Ram (Japan’s Ramu Kawai), and the b-boy’s medal was won by Bumblebee (Russia’s Sergei Chernyshev).
“The Paris organizing committee also wants to include climbing, surfing and skateboarding, which are already on the roster for the 2020 Tokyo Games”, Jake Cigainero reports for NPR’s Newsdesk. “Karate will also make its Olympic debut in Tokyo, but Paris snubbed the sport for its lineup”.
In breaking battle competitions, judges vote to decide the winner of multiple rounds of dancing, in which two dancers take turns on the floor – with rivals often doing their best not to look impressed with their opponent.