Breakdancing at the Olympics?

It is being considered for the 2024 Games in Paris

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Should breakdancing be a competitive sport at the Olympics?

By Daniel J. McLaughlin

Breakdancing - or breaking - could become an Olympic sport. It is one of the new sports proposed for the 2024 Games in Paris.

It could be the best time and location to introduce breakdancing in the Games - with one million people taking part in the sport in France.

However, its potential inclusion has been attacked as "sheer desperation" from Olympic organisers to appeal to kids.

The Claim

Jonathan Ervine, senior lecturer in French and Francophone Studies at Bangor University, argues that Paris is "the perfect city" to introduce breakdancing to the Olympics.

Writing for The Conversation, he argues: "Including an event like breakdancing would not just be a big moment for urban culture worldwide, but important for French culture in the capital too."

The hip hop market in France is the second largest in the world, after the United States. Breakdancing, along with rap music and graffiti, has been popular in less affluent areas in the country, known as "bonlieues" that are outside of many French cities.

Ervine says the inclusion of breakdancing would "connect the Games with the urban culture of the area surrounding the Stade de France".

He adds: "It would see the French capital embracing a discipline often associated with its outer suburbs rather than the city centre, and provide a means to engage with young people too.

"It may even go some way to dispelling the negative reports more often coming from these areas."

The Counterclaim

The Daily Telegraph's Oliver Brown does not understand why breakdancing could be selected for the Paris Games over squash.

He attacks the International Olympic Committee (IOC) panel for trying to appeal to a younger audience in order to compensate for being "out of touch".

He argues: "After all, no earthly reason could explain their impending exclusion of squash from the Paris Olympics in favour of - wait for it - breakdancing than their sheer desperation to seem down with the kids."

Brown calls breakdancing a discipline that "scarcely qualifies as sport at all". He also argues that the IOC is in danger of losing sight of the Olympics' essence - a platform for the world's greatest athleticism - by "embracing niche sports that are simply flavour of the month".

The Facts

Breakdancing is one of four sports that have been proposed for inclusion in Paris 2024. The organisers will also propose the inclusion of skateboarding, surfing and climbing, which will all debut at Tokyo 2020.

Squash lobbied for inclusion in the Games, but lost out, alongside billiard sports and chess.

The IOC will not make a decision on the inclusion of the sports in Paris 2024 until after the 2020 Games in Tokyo.

Breakdancing was introduced at last year's Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires. According to Forbes, it was a big hit, attracting up to 90,000 spectators a day.

The dancers competed under pseudonyms. Russian athlete 'Bumblebee', Sergey Chernyshov, and Japanese athlete 'Ram', Ramu Kawai, became the first ever youth Olympic gold medallists in the sport.

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