Breakdancing’s proposed inclusion in the Paris 2024 Olympic Games will be “absolutely humongous” for the sport, but squash and karate have reacted with disappointment at missing out on consideration.
Along with surfing, climbing and skateboarding, breakdancing will be put forward to the International Olympic Committee for inclusion in Paris. The IOC will consider the proposal and must reach a decision by December 2020.
Skateboarding, climbing and surfing will make their debuts in Tokyo 2020, along with karate and baseball/softball, but the latter two sports have swiftly been dropped, while squash continues to be excluded.
Breakdancing was included in the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires in 2018. Russia’s Sergei Chernyshev won the first breakdancing – known as ‘breaking’ – gold medal for boys, with Japan’s Ramu Kawai winning the girls’ title.
Paco Boxy, director of the British Breaking League which organises competitions across the UK, said he was delighted by the news.
“For me personally I think it’s fantastic news, not only for the young generation but also for the credibility of breakdancing to be classed as a sport,” the 35-year-old told Press Association Sport.
“A lot of people will look at breakdancing as just spinning on your head or doing the worm, but the people that I know train like athletes. They go to the gym swimming, train every day. It will always be a dance first and foremost, but it has turned into a sport.
“I have loads of friends who don’t really like dancing but when they see breakdancing they think it’s amazing. It’s a positive movement, especially for the younger culture within our country and others. It’s something they can strive for, to be an Olympian.
“Everyone has a dream and what more can you ask for but being in the Olympics and getting a gold medal. For this to go in the Olympics is massive, absolutely humongous.”
It was a different story for the governing bodies of karate and squash however, who expressed their disappointment at not being considered.
A statement from World Karate Federation president Antonio Espinos read: “Our sport has grown exponentially over the last years and we still haven’t had the chance to prove our value as an Olympic sport since we will be making our debut as an Olympic discipline in Tokyo 2020.
“Over the last months we have worked relentlessly, together with the French Federation, to achieve our goal of being included in Paris 2024. We believed that we had met all the requirements and that we had the perfect conditions to be added to the sports programme. However, we have learned today that our dream will not be coming true.
“France is one of the strongest countries in Karate. We had founded hopes to be in Paris 2024 due to the strength and popularity of our sport in France. Sadly, we have received the very bad news for Karate that our sport will be excluded from this list.”
In a joint statement, the World Squash Federation and PSA World Tour said: “The proposed list of four sports only, of which three sports are already confirmed by the IOC on the Tokyo 2020 Olympic programme, leads to a belief that Paris 2024 and the IOC favoured sports already in the Olympic programme, leaving practically no opportunity for other sports.
“The unity that our sport enjoys globally is exceptional and is getting stronger by the day. WSF and PSA are supported by the entire squash community and, with our athletes at the forefront, have run a strong campaign that respected the timeline and the criteria set by Paris 2024 and the IOC.
“During the campaign, we showed that squash has a vibrant and real forward-looking programme rooted in constant innovation, which strives for more inclusiveness and sustainability, youth engagement and equality across all of our activities in and outside of the court.
“We truly believe squash could seamlessly integrate into the Olympic programme with minimal costs and an optimised pool of participants.
“Our unique interactive glass court would allow squash to bring a lot of additional excitement and spectacular action to any iconic monument of the host city or shed a new light on less known urban areas, while also helping to engage young people in the sport from day one of the preparations and well beyond the Olympic Games.”