Africa: How Breakdancing Became the Latest Olympic Sport

In an effort to bring the Olympics to a wider and younger audience, breaking is the latest “sport” to make its debut at Paris 2024. But how will it work as a scored sport?

“Breaking” is the only new sport making its debut at the Paris 2024 Olympics. Breaking is probably better known to most of us as breakdancing. So why is the sport officially called breaking, and how is something so freestyle and subjective going to play out as a scored sport in Paris this summer?

The origins of breaking are somewhat debatable, although most agree its roots can be traced to 1970s house parties in the Bronx area of New York hosted by DJ Kool Herc, often credited as the founder of hip-hop. Breaking was performed on the dance floor by so-called B-boys and B-girls when the music tracks were “breaking” – meaning all that could be heard was the percussion track.

Throughout the 1980s the phenomenon garnered international exposure via music videos and movies such as Flashdance (1983), Breakin’ (1984) and Beat Street (1984). This is also when the media started to use the term “breakdancing”. However, breakers never add “dance” on the end, as this term came from outsiders rather than the hip-hop community, as one of the breaking pioneers Crazy Legs has pointed out.

While the idea of testing each other in format-free <a…

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