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Could Break Dancing Be Added to the Olympics?

Rennie Harris Puremovement. Photo by Christopher Duggan

You might still be thinking wistfully of the figure skating choreography at the 2018 Winter Olympics or already looking forward to the gymnastics competition at next summer's games, but we're officially marking our calendars for Paris 2024. Why? There's an excellent chance that break dancing will make its Olympic debut.


The head of the planning committee for the Paris 2024 games, Tony Estanguet, announced today that break dancing was one of the four new proposed events. Its inclusion is contingent upon approval from the International Olympic Committee, which is expected to make a decision after the conclusion of the Tokyo 2020 games. The other three new proposals for Paris—skateboarding, climbing and surfing—will debut as medal events next summer.

If you're wondering how a break-dancing competition can be organized to result in three clear medalists, the model used at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires provides a possible road map. There were three categories: men's breaking, women's breaking and mixed-team breaking, which featured one man and one woman. (If approved, it's expected that the mixed-team category will be dropped for Paris 2024).

The youth competition was broken into three phrases: an individual performance that narrowed the field, a round-robin series of one-on-one battles, and a final knockout battle round between the top four remaining competitors. The "Trivium Value System" the judges used to evaluate competitors assesses physical quality, interpretive quality and artistic quality.

If break dancing does get the go-ahead to debut as an Olympic sport in 2024, we're curious to see how the judging system is codified, and how it might change the form. (Just take a look at the way figure skating shifted its priorities for program composition after the current scoring system became mandatory at all international competitions, including the Olympics, in 2006.) And while break dancing already has a robust infrastructure of competition circuits to help make the transition seem natural, might its inclusion pave the way for of other genres of dance?

In the meantime, we'll be mentally crafting our dream crew to represent Team USA in 2024. Which rising break dancers would you want to see?

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