Is breakdancing even a sport? The International Olympic Committee might think so

In the last five decades, breaking has gone from the streets to the stage of Red Bull BC One. Next, the community has their sights set on the 2024 Summer Olympics. (Photo: Getty Images)

Breakdancing at the Summer Olympics? Organizers of the 2024 Games in Paris might introduce breakdancing, better known as breaking, after being included in the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires in 2018.

Breakdancers, referred to as B-boys and B-girls, have been trying for years to get their practice recognized as a sport. And while these efforts have paid off — the largest worldwide competition to date Red Bull BC One hosts thousands annually since 2004 — there’s still plenty of misconceptions about breaking.

“It is still sometimes frowned upon,” Red Bull BC One All Star, Omar O. Delgado Macias, known by his B-boy name RoxRite, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “They look at us as some street dance that we don’t know what we’re doing.”

“There’s always a misconception about breakers being from the street, spinning on cardboard. And that is where we started, and honestly I’m proud of those roots because I kind of came from that generation where we were dancing on the streets on linoleum,” fellow All Star, Ronnie Abaldonado, says. “But now, we’re in a different place and we’re a lot smarter, and we’re just definitely trying to bring this whole dance to a whole different level.”

According to another professional, Fabiano Carvalho Lopes, known as Neguin, the internet and social media have both had a lot to do with how far breaking has come in recent years.

“Now it’s a worldwide thing,” he says, attributing that to breaking videos on YouTube that have received viral attention. “Many countries that didn’t have information before, now they have too much information because you just type it in on Google or on YouTube, and you now have an online class.”

Still, Neguin says that the more mainstream nature (shows like America’s Best Dance Crew) of breaking has its downsides, like younger generations wanting to quickly perfect their skills without understanding the cultural importance of breaking.

Ronnie points to the “purists” of the hip hop sub-sect who fear that the cultural appreciation of the art form will dissipate — although he doesn’t necessarily agree.

“It is kind of transitioning into more of a sport because of competition and judges. But that doesn’t take the value away from breaking being part of the hip hop culture,” Ronnie explains. “There’s different platforms for it. If you wanted to compete in the Olympics, then compete in the Olympics. That’s not gonna take away from the underground battles that they still have today.”

According to the New York Times, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is not expected to confirm whether breaking will be added to the program for the 2024 Games until December 2020. But all three B-boys are holding out hope for breaking to be added to the program and to make a positive impact in the community.

“We have to appreciate this opportunity and take advantage of it and just share with the world and share the true impact that breaking can really have in worldwide communities,” RoxRite says. “It crosses all paths of life, cultures, religions, everything. It just unites everybody and I think that if we could make the world understand and see that, then I think they could see the full potential of what this dance has done.”

In the meantime, the Red Bull BC One All Stars are traveling across the country to teach workshops and judge regional cyphers, culminating in the 2019 World Final taking place in November in Mumbai, India.

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