Imagine the thought bubbles above the heads of the buttoned-down members of the International Olympic Committee back in the 1980s when someone first introduced the idea of adding freestyle skiing to the roster of the Winter Games.
Consider what was floating around in the minds of the IOC in the 1990s when the subject of adding beach volleyball to the Summer Games was presented.
Back in the day, the Olympics were about conventional endeavors, track and field and bobsled, basketball and downhill skiing, boxing and figure skating.
But just like everything else in life, times change and those who ultimately take control look for ways to modernize their businesses, make them more relevant to the younger generation.
The IOC is just like everyone else. And now we’re hearing it is considering a new event for the 2024 Summer Games – breakdancing. The IOC believes the event will offer the opportunity to relate better to a new market.
“The four sports Paris has proposed (skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing) … contribute to making the program more gender-balanced and more urban, and offer the opportunity to connect with the younger generation,” IOC President Thomas Bach said.
That would provide the answer to the following question: Why would the IOC think a specific form of dance deserves inclusion in the Olympics? And why breakdancing as opposed to ballroom dancing or square dancing? Don’t they know how to waltz in Cameroon?
Kids love breakdancing. The IOC wants to attract kids. Hey, it won’t be long before video gaming will be added, too.
Regardless of what anyone thinks of this idea, it is moving forward. The IOC decided in March to literally take it to the streets. In fact, the Associated Press is reporting organizers have the permission to begin looking for an appropriate venue to stage the competition in Paris.
“It’s important for us in our concept to put sports out of the stadiums and in the heart of the city,” said Tony Estanguet, the Paris 2024 president.
Apparently, the event is called “breaking” among the Olympic poohbahs. It made it medal debut last autumn at the Buenos Aires Youth Summer Games. As proposed, the street dance competition will feature 16 athletes in each of the men’s and women’s events.
Many competitive breakdancing competitions, including the World BBoy Series, which was established in 2013. has seen teams from Russia, Greece, South Korea, Japan and the USA all win.
The IOC sanctioned a request from the Paris organizing committee and its own executive board to conditionally add breakdancing to the Paris games. A final decision is expected on this in December 2020.
It’s expected that the new sports will include 248 athletes, while keeping the list of total participants in Paris within the 10,500 limit.
By the time Los Angeles hosts the 2028 Games, breakdancing should be the new rage. In any event, the IOC must decide which events to include in the 2024 and 2028 Games sometime in 2021.
Again, the idea is to move the Olympic Games, both symbolically and logistically, out of stadiums and arenas an into the places where people live and work.
“Paris 2024 will choose a venue offering natural waves (for surfing) as France boasts a number of well-known surfing spots on its Atlantic coast and in its overseas territories,” the organizing committee said.
All four sports must still prove themselves to organizers and still could be removed from the Paris Games ahead of final IOC approval.
“Our aim from the outset has been to highlight what has been the strength of the Games for 32 Olympiads now — the diversity of the sports and the excitement that comes with performance,” Estanguet said.
Americans will note that neither baseball or softball are included on the list of provisional sports for Paris. Those sports were removed following the 2008 Games in Beijing, but the Tokyo 2020 organizers added them back, taking advantage of a new IOC rule allowing host countries to add select sports on a one-time basis.