What is the sport breaking and is it in the Olympics?

What is the sport breaking and is it in the Olympics?

Kevin Omuya
updated at May 17, 2024 at 7:13 PM
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Olympics Women's qualification(CONCACAF) logo
Olympics Women's qualification(CONCACAF)
Olympics qualification(CONCACAF) logo
Olympics qualification(CONCACAF)

Breaking has made its premiere at a major international athletic event. Many breakers are journeying to Hangzhou to compete for gold and, for some, an opportunity to qualify for the Paris Olympics. For many of these athletes, this is the most critical competition they have ever competed in. What is the sport breaking?

Sports breaking
B-Boy Xak (L), Spanish break dancer, on January 30, in Madrid, Spain. Colombia's Luma (R) competes on November 4, 2023. Photo: Irina R. Hipolito, Guillermo Salgado/Getty Images
Source: UGC

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Because breaking is a niche sport that has only been around briefly, it is essential to study its culture and subtleties. The sport breaking, which goes by names like b-boying, b-girling, and breakdancing, will debut at the 2024 Summer Olympics. With sixteen "b-boys" and sixteen "b-girls" competing, there will be a men's and a women's medal event.

What is the sport breaking?

The 1970s and 1980s were a formative time for breaking among Latino and African-American communities in the Bronx. Many people in the New York borough looked for a way to express themselves and find optimism as they dealt with the aftermath of the crack epidemic and the increase in gang murders.

The term "breakdancing" came from a DJ named Kool Herc, who popularised the practice of wildly moving about the dance floor during the breaks in hip-hop songs. Over the following decade, players became popular for ostentatious dancing in New York City's parks, parties, and clubs.

Elements of sport breaking in the Olympics

Sport breaking
Japan's Yuasa Ami competes against China's Liu Qingyi in the women's final breaking event during the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games on October 7, 2023. Photo: Ishara Kodikara
Source: Getty Images

Transitions and freezes are significant parts of breaking despite the sport's reputation for high-level power movements. The signature, show-stopping steps of the dance usually begin with a top rock.

Players always start battles standing, even though their throw-downs are mainly on the floor. Before stepping onto the floor, a breakdancer will do top rock. Dancing to top rock typically requires rhythmic moves and intricate footwork, which allows the dancer to showcase their musicianship.

Performing footwork, the building blocks of breaking is a typical dance step after getting on the floor. Breakers can create complex patterns by combining several forms of footwork in a performance or battle.

Freezes are a common way for breakdancers to end a sequence. They involve striking a beautiful position and holding it for a few seconds, usually to a significant sound in the song.

As the ultimate expression of playing style, power movements are frequently the show-stopper in a breaker's routine. Power techniques are characterised by a relentless circular motion, often supported solely by the breaker's hands, head, back, or shoulders.

The Olympic sport breaking in Asia?

Not only is it breaking an Olympic sport, but it is also making its Asian Games debut. The breakdancing competition in Hangzhou, China, will be held from October 6 to 7 at the Gongshu Canal Sports Park Gymnasium. The top B-boys and B-girls from the region will compete for the gold medals.

The Asian Games track and field competition has seven stages: preliminary, round robin, knockout, semi-finals, finals, and third place. Those who made it through the qualifying round will advance to the initial round. Similar to the Olympic Games, but with "technique" added as a sixth criterion for scoring.

What is the sport breaking in the Olympics?

Sport breaking
Mexico's Swami competes in the B-Girls quarterfinals breaking event of the Pan American Games Santiago 2023 on November 4, 2023. (Photo: Guillermo Salgado
Source: Getty Images

During bouts, the DJ and MC (master of ceremonies) play a crucial role, and the dance-battle sport is "characterised by acrobatic movements and stylised footwork," as stated by the Paris Olympics. Breaking will make its Olympic debut in Paris, following its 2018 debut in the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires.

The hip-hop culture refers to the 60-second rounds where dancers compete against one another as "battles" or "throw downs." This is how the Olympic sport is portrayed. The judging panel will decide Each round's victor using five criteria: personality, musicality, variety, performance, and inventiveness.

What is breaking in the Olympics?

The Paris Olympics reported that hip-hop dance started in the 1970s at block parties in New York City. "A legendary DJ named Kool Herc debuted a new technique that centred around percussive 'breaks' in songs," according to Louis, who claimed the sport's Bronx origins.

What is the new Olympic sport breaking?

Sport breaking
Colombia's Alvin competes in the B-Boys quarterfinals breaking event of the Pan American Games Santiago 2023 on November 4, 2023. Photo: Guillermo Salgado
Source: Getty Images

In 2024, the Paris Olympics will host groundbreaking debuts. For the first time, the Paris Olympics will feature breaking, more often known as breakdancing. It was in the 1970s that the Bronx was the birthplace of the breaking dance style.

Who are the stars of the breakdance scene before the Olympics?

Favourites in the men's division include Canadian breakdancer Phil Wizard, a three-time world winner, and Japanese sensation Shigekix. Buenos Aires was the site of the 2018 Youth Olympic Games, where Shigekix finished in third place. French b-boy Danny and Kazakh b-boy Amir are prominent figures in the breaking scene.

Regarding the women's division, the favourites are the American Logistx and the Japanese B-Girl Ami. Ami won the 2022 World Championships, and breaking icon B-Girl Ayumi is still strong at age 39. Notable figures in the breaking scene include B-Girl India of the Netherlands, B-Girl 671 of China, and B-Girl MadMax of Belgium. India won the 2022 European Championships.

Frequently asked questions

At the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, the magnificent and unique sport of breaking will make its debut. Here are the most asked questions about breaking sports in the Olympics.

Sports breaking
Netherlands' India Sardjoe, aka India (L), competes during the Red Bull BC One World Final breaking event on October 21, 2023. Photo: Martin Lelievre
Source: Getty Images

How do breakdance competitions unfold at the 2024 Olympics?

Fifteen B-Boys and B-Girls face off against each other in one-on-one duels. Judges assess creativity, technique, and other factors.

When and where will the breakdance competitions at the 2024 Olympics take place?

In Paris, the qualifying rounds and finals will take place in the evening on August 9 and August 10, respectively, for the men and women.

Final words

What is the sport breaking? The athletic and acrobatic moves that make it unique are typically set to the rhythms of hip-hop music. Breaking has developed into a competitive sport with events held all over the globe. Dancers show off their moves in bouts or performances evaluated by judges using criteria including style, melody, technique, and inventiveness.

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Kevin Omuya
Kevin Omuya is a Content Writer with 4 years of experience who joined Sports Brief in 2022. In 2019 he held a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism & Digital Media from KCA University.