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Everything you need to know about breakdance in the Olympics

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Casper Libero chapter.

In two months, one of the biggest sports events will take place in Paris. This year’s Olympics will have a brand new feature: Breaking. Yes, that’s right! We will see the best dancers in the world competing for an olympic medal. But do you know exactly what is breaking? Let’s find out!

What is Olympic breaking?

Breaking is a street dance originally in the US back in the 70s and it was often associated with a population that was marginalized in the streets of New York. With fast and impressive movements, the dance is characterized by acrobatic moves, like spins on the floor (“power moves”) and standstill positions (“freeze”), and it is typically set to Hip-Hop funk and breakbeat music.

It made its debut as an Olympic sport in 2018 at the Summer Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires. The viewership surpassed one million people. The World DanceSport Federation (WDSF) called it an “unmitigated success”. The outcome was so great, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) added it to Paris 2024 as a new sport. According to Thomas Bach, IOC´s president, this addition to the Olympic roster is an attempt to reach a younger audience.

In an interview with NBC, Jeffrey Louis, one of the best dancers in the world, told how this was “a chance for us to grow and educate people on breaking”.

How do the battles work and how do you qualify for the olympics?

On August 9th and 10th at the Place de la Concorde, the “Break Dancers”, called b-boys and b-girls, will face each other in solo battles to see who will be the olympic medalists. They will have to improvise their complex movements to the beat of the DJ´s track. The judges evaluate them based on six criterias: creativity, personality, technique, variety, performativity and musicality. Then, the critics will submit their votes and the dancer with the highest score is the winner of that round. 

To participate in the 2024 Olympics, most of the breakers will have to qualify either through the continental and world championships or the Olympic Qualifier Series in Shanghai and Budapest.

Right now, the only countries that have b-boys and b-girls already qualified through the championships are Australia, US, China, France, Morocco, Japan, Canada, Netherlands and Lithuania. And for the Refugee Olympic Team, Manizha Talash, originally from Afghanistan, received an invitational olympic quota.

The best in the world

Victor Montalvo, from the USA team, is one of the favorite names to win the gold medal. He won the 2023 WDSF World Breaking Championship and took the bronze medal in 2022. Breaking runs in his family blood. His father and uncle, Victor and Hector Bermudez, are considered “breaking pioneers”, as they helped the Mexican breaking scenario evolve in the late 80s.

Dominika Banevič, better known as b-girl Nicka, is only 16, but she’s already a big hit in the breaking scenario. She is the current European Champion and she also won the World Championship last year in Belgium. With that curriculum, she is a gold-medal favorite in Paris 2024.

The Canadian Philip Kim, b-boy Phil Wizard, and the Japanese b-boy Shigekix, Shigeyuki Nakarai, are also big names that are already classified for the Olympics. Phil is the world champion from 2022 and Shigeyuki is currently 3rd in the world rankings and won the bronze medal at the 2018 Youth Olympics.

From the Netherlands, India Sardjoe is only 18 but she is already a young star. Back in 2022, she won the dutch, european and the world championship in a 6-month span. She is a b-girl to keep an eye on at the Summer Olympics.


The article above was edited by Beatriz Imagure.
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Beatriz Imagure

Casper Libero '24

Giovanna Garcia

Casper Libero '26

hi! i´m a journalism student who loves pop culture and sports :)