Breakdancing poised for Olympic debut at Paris 2024

A press conference on Feb 21, 2019, in Paris, where it was announced that breakdancing, skateboarding, climbing and surfing have been invited to join the Olympics.
A press conference on Feb 21, 2019, in Paris, where it was announced that breakdancing, skateboarding, climbing and surfing have been invited to join the Olympics.PHOTO: AFP

LAUSANNE (Switzerland) • The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has voted to provisionally approve adding breakdancing, skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing to the Paris 2024 Games.

Breakdancing would be the only event making its Olympic bow, with the other three due to make their debuts at Tokyo 2020.

Tuesday's decision at the IOC session in Lausanne must still be rubber-stamped by the IOC's executive committee in December next year, but it appears the approval will now be a formality.

In a statement, IOC president Thomas Bach said: "The four sports that Paris has proposed are all totally in line with Olympic Agenda 2020 because they contribute to making the programme more gender balanced and more urban, and offer the opportunity to connect with the younger generation."

Paris 2024 chief Tony Estanguet also welcomed the news, adding: "We decided that creativity would be at the heart of these Games which will be innovative."

International Surfing Association president Fernando Aguerre was thrilled with the announcement, calling it "an amazing day for Olympic surfing".

World Skate president Sabatino Aracu was equally excited, admitting he was "so proud" that skateboarding had been endorsed and expressed his confidence the four sports will feed the "urban spirit" of the 2024 Games.

The four sports are planned for 248 athletes split evenly between men and women, with Paris organisers keen on a programme that is keeping with the times.

Under new IOC rules first introduced for the Tokyo Games, host cities can hand-pick sports and propose them for inclusion in those Games if they are popular in that country and add to the appeal of the quadrennial tournament.

The IOC is eager to refresh the Games programme to remain relevant to sponsors, broadcasters and fans.

Separately, boxing's place at the Tokyo Games was confirmed by the IOC yesterday, as was the suspension of the sport's governing body, Aiba. The sport has been a fixture of the Games since 1904.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, DPA, REUTERS, XINHUA

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 27, 2019, with the headline 'Breakdancing poised for Olympic debut at Paris 2024'. Print Edition | Subscribe