Breakdancing gets Olympic green light for Paris 2024 (and we’ve no idea if SA has a shot at a medal)

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

TOKYO 2020 OLYMPICS WILL TAKE PLACE IN 2021

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 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The introduction of breaking was “one of the results of the Olympic Agenda 2020”, IOC president Thomas 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, in the form of head-to-head “battles”.

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 the 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.”

PARIS PODIUMS DOWN TO 329

Federations of sports that already have Olympic status were left disappointed in their bid to increase events within their sports as 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.

That 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, however, be a mixed cross-country, which World Athletics had been pushing hard for.

“The event had to fit into an existing Olympic venue,” McConnell said, explaining that a potential re-fit of the equestrian or mountain-bike venues to accommodate a cross-country was shown to be “too expensive and complex”.

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