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Breakdancing Added to Paris 2024 Lineup

Claude Humbert via Wikimedia Commons

The International Olympic Committee has long sought out younger viewers and Paris 2024 might finally have an answer: competitive breakdancing. The sport, officially listed in the medal events program as “breaking,” was added to the Summer Games lineup today.

Youth Appeal: The median age of Olympic viewers rose to 53 in 2016 and viewership in the 18-to-49 age group declined 25 percent the same year. 

  • It appears the IOC and U.S. broadcast rights holder NBCUniversal have prioritized younger audiences in the years since, inking content and distribution deals with digital partners like Snapchat, Buzzfeed and Twitter. 

Breaking was first proposed by Paris organizers nearly two years ago after successful trials at the 2018 Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires. Of course, breakdancing first came to prominence in New York City in the 1970s, as a cornerstone of hip-hop culture.

The New Vision: The move follows the recent additions of skateboarding, freestyle BMX and 3-on-3 basketball as official Olympic sports for Tokyo. Skateboarding, sports climbing and surfing were also approved for Paris as the IOC looks to make the games “more gender balanced, more youthful and more urban” in the long term. 

  • Parkour could also be added to future Olympics, but debates over who “owns” the sport have led to a major governing body opposing the move. 
  • Tokyo 2020 will be the first Olympic Games with near gender-equal participation; 48.8% of participants will be women. Paris 2024 is expected to have an exactly equal number of male and female athletes.

Breaking, sport climbing and 3-on-3 basketball will share the downtown Paris Place de la Concorde as their venue. Surfing will be held in Tahiti, over 9,000 miles away.