Breakdancing gets Olympic status to debut at Paris in 2024

GENEVA >> Breakdancing has become an official Olympic sport today.

With the International Olympic Committee’s pursuit of urban events to lure a younger audience, street dance combat was officially added to the medal event schedule at the 2024 Paris Games.

Also confirmed for Paris by the IOC board of directors were skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing.

Those three sports will make their Olympic debuts at the Tokyo Games, which were delayed by a year due to the coronavirus pandemic to open on July 23, 2021.

In addition to the additions, the IOC made deductions: The slate of 329 medal events in Paris is 10 less than in Tokyo, and the 2024 athlete quota of 10,500 is about 600 less than next year.

Two sports with troubled governing bodies – boxing and weightlifting – saw the biggest cuts in the number of athletes they can have in Paris.

Weightlifting should have 120 athletes in Paris, which is less than half of the total at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games. The sport could be discontinued entirely due to historic doping problems and IOC concerns about the pace and depth of reforms at the International Weightlifting Federation.

The IOC highlighted its future priorities for Paris, and then through to the Los Angeles Games of 2028, by claiming it will achieve a long-term goal of equal participation of male and female athletes and more urbanized events.

As the Paris organizers needed time to prepare their project, the IOC stuck to its pre-pandemic schedule to confirm the 2024 sports lineup this month, even before some are tested in Tokyo.

Breakdancing is called breaking at the Olympics, just like it was in the 1970s by hip hop pioneers in the United States.

It was proposed by the organizers of Paris almost two years ago after positive tests at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires. The breakthrough has passed further approval stages in 2019 based on separate decisions by the IOC board and full membership.

In Paris, breaking has gained a prestigious downtown location, along with sport climbing and 3-on-3 basketball at Place de le Concorde.

Surfing takes place more than 15,000 kilometers (9,000 miles) away in the Pacific Ocean, off the beaches of Tahiti, as the IOC agreed in March.

Of the 28 established summer games sports, a total of 41 additional events were presented at Monday’s meeting.

All increases were declined, including ocean rowing and parkour, and changes were only allowed at the expense of canceling existing events. Two extreme canoe slalom events will replace the canoe sprint events and the 50-kilometer men’s race walk will be replaced by a mixed team event.

The IOC said that “limiting the total number of events is a key element in curbing the growth of the Olympic program and its associated costs.”