Qi Xiangyu at Breaking B-Boys Final for 2024 Olympic Qualifier Series Shanghai
(Photo by CHINASPORTS/VCG via Getty Images)

At the upcoming 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, breaking will make its debut as an Olympic sport – and judging from what’s known about the battles’ rules so far, b-girls and b-boys might add a healthy dose of freestyle spirit to the Games.

Joining 3×3 basketball, climbing, surfing and skateboarding, who all made their Olympic debut at the 2020 Tokyo Games, the inclusion of breaking is another deliberate step to strip the event from connotations of pure decathlon and olive branches – to exaggerate a little bit – and to establish it amongst a younger, more diverse audience.

At the Summer Olympics, 16 competitors in two groups – one for women, one for men – will battle against each other in 1on1 matches. Improvizing to an unbeknownst instrumental played by a DJ, the b-girls and b-boys will be judged on five criteria: vocabulary, technique, execution, originality and musicality.

Another reason to look forward to the Paris battles is that the future of breaking at the Olympics is uncertain hereafter: At the 2028 Summer Olympics in L.A., breaking will not be included anymore – which might be due to a mismanagement of the World DanceSport Federation according to German breaking veteran Niels Robitzky aka Storm, who’s still looking forward to Paris though:

“We’re definitely critical. Especially because we’re being represented by an association who hasn’t got anything to do with breaking.”

Breaking pioneer Storm to Deutschlandfunk

For some more insights, we talked to Aloun from Step2Diz – one of the most well-known breaking crews and dance acadamies from BSTN’s hometown of Munich – about the chances and risks of breaking’s Olympic debut:

Are you looking forward to breaking’s debut at the 2024 Olympics?

Aloun: Unfortunately, the tickets are completely sold out already. It looks like we’ll try to watch the whole thing via live stream on YouTube or something similar.

Do you think the athletic aspect could supersede the artistic side of breaking at the Olympics?

Aloun: Yes, unfortunately the artistic aspect has been pushed aside after all these years. Luckily at most events, there are still people involved who manage to combine the flow as well as the musical vibe with the sports side of things. There even were discussions to remove the DJ, but that was a huge issue for the community.

Do you think the preparations for the Olympics are different to ‘regular’ battles?

Aloun: The preparations surrounding the dancers are completely different. The dancers are turning into sportspeople or athletes now, fully preparing for an international battle. Nutrition, rest periods and stretching are the first priority now.

Do you think the big stage offers new opportunities for breaking?

Aloun: Yes, it definitely does. Breaking is finally being recognized as an art as well as a serious sport. We always say we made it… from the Bronx to the Olympics. That’s a huge milestone for the culture.

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