Breaking Olympic Debut 2024

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From the streets of New York City to the world’s biggest stage, breakdancing just became the coolest new Olympic sport. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has officially confirmed that breakdancing will be added to the 2024 Summer Games in Paris under the name “breaking”. Breakdancing began in the 1970s in the Bronx as part of Hip-Hop culture and later spread around the world. It is defined as a hip-hop dance style that incorporates footwork and physical techniques such as back or head rotations. These street battles are performed by dancers, often known as B-Boys and B-Girls.  

Breaking began when street corner DJs (in legend, DJ Kool Herc was the first) began stringing together or looping the breakdown parts (or “breaks”) of dance tracks without any components of the song. This gave a raw rhythmic foundation for experimentation, improvision, creativity and additional mixing, as well as an opportunity for dancers to showcase their talents during the break. Breakdancing has many inspirations; there is no tradition in breakdancing; performers took components from various dances and sports such as gymnastics, Capoeira, lindy hop, disco, and so on.

Popular theories from the early 1980s claim that breakdancing, in its current structured form, developed as a way for rival gangs to arbitrate and settle territorial conflicts. The winning side in a turn-based dance routine showcase was determined by the dancer(s) who could exceed the other by presenting a series of more intricate and original moves 

Later, with the extremely passionate performances of late funk great James Brown and the quick rise of dance teams such as New York City’s Rock Steady Crew, breakdancing blossomed into a pop-culture phenomenon gaining widespread media attention. Parties, disco clubs, talent showcases, and other public events were common venues for breakdancers.

Though its tremendous popularity diminished in the 1980s, breakdancing remains a widespread phenomenon, gaining exposure through often amusing depictions in advertising, movies, and the media. Breakdancing is still a fun hobby for many people and, for a few, a serious competitive sport with annual exhibits and contests at all levels. 

This new addition to the Olympic Games is a part of the IOC’s initiative to attract and accommodate a younger, more urban and artistic audience. The Committee saw that the average age of Olympic audiences was rising and decided to include sports such as surfing, skateboarding, three-on-three basketball, sport climbing, and breaking to hopefully bridge the gap.  

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Rajaa Sultanah is a sneaker and fashion enthusiast from Philadelphia, Pa with a Major in Sports & Entertainment and Minor in TV & Film from Howard University. She enjoys working as a creative, entrepreneur, and influencer. She is always looking for her next creative opportunity. You can follow her on Instagram @Rajaa.Sultanah