Everything to know about break dancing ahead of its debut at the Olympics

Break dancer Logistx performs
AP Photo/Vera Nieuwenhuis

Calling all B-boys and B-girls! Break dancing is finally getting respect on a global scale. The 2024 Paris Summer Olympic Games will be the first time break dancing will be included as an official Olympic sport.

Break dancing first had a moment on the Olympic stage in 2018. At the Summer Youth Olympics in 2018, athletes from Japan, Russia, South Korea and Canada nabbed top medals for their break dancing. The sport’s debut was such a success that officials decided it was time to add it to the roster of Olympic events.

“Following its outstanding success at the Games in Argentina, breaking was added to the Paris 2024 Olympic programme as a new sport,” reads the official Olympics website.

MORE: Famous American Olympians: Where are they now?

Break dancer Marlone of France performs
AP Photo/Vera Nieuwenhuis

How Will Break Dancing Be Judged at the Olympics?

The website also details the rules and regulations for this new Olympic sport. There will be two separate solo rounds for men and women, with 16 “B-boys” and 16 “B-girls” competing against each other. Competitors will “adapt their style and improvise to the beat” as the D.J. switches up the tracks, and judges will be looking for moves like windmills, the 6-step and freezes as dancers show off their skill and stamina.

“If we get it right, we can create something unstoppable,” Jeffrey Louis, who is a top contender for one of the remaining spots on the U.S. Olympics breakdancing team, told NBC Olympics. “We can’t let it pass us up again, because the first time breaking blew up, it fizzled out.”

A B-boy competes
AP/Vera Nieuwenhuis

Louis is referring to the early 1980s, when breakdancing was so popular that it even became the subject of several Hollywood movies (such as 1984’s “Breakin'” and “Beat Street”). Celebs as varied as Cuba Gooding, Jr., Vin Diesel, Debi Mazar and Leonardo DiCaprio loved the sport, with a 9-year-old DiCaprio even placing second in a break-dancing competition in 1984. (He was bummed he didn’t get first place because the prize was a Walkman.)

However, while breaking moves like “the worm” and “the robot” stood the test of time, breakdancing slowly faded into the background along with other ’80s trends like Jordache jeans and crimped hair. But the sport is gaining momentum once again, and its inclusion in the Olympics has legitimized it on a global scale.

Team USA break dancer Sunny Choi
AP Photo/Andres Kudacki

So far, Sunny Choi (B-Girl Sunny) and Victor Montalvo (B-Boy Victor), both shown in photos below, have been selected for the 2024 U.S. Olympics break dancing team. Two spots — for one male dancer and one female dancer — remain.

Choi, who is 34 years old, first started break dancing when she was in college. The Queens native said that the sport became her way of expressing herself and breaking out of her shell.

“A lot of my journey through breaking has been figuring out who I am, being confident in my skin,” Choi told ESPN last year. “That inner child whose dreams were crushed by societal and family and cultural expectations. That inner child that’s super shy and scared but has so much to say and just wants to show it.”

And Florida native Victor Montalvo says that America should be shoo-ins for the Olympic gold in break-dancing.

“Breaking started in the U.S., started in the Bronx. So it’s only right for a U.S. breaker to win the world championship, you know?”Montalvo said to USA Today. “So I’m glad I’m a part of history.”

Victor Montalvo, Team USA Olympic break dancer
AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

The 2024 Paris Summer Olympics will air on NBC and its streaming service Peacock. The games will begin on July 26, with the breaking competitions starting on Aug. 9.

But for now, you can get hyped for break-dancing’s historical debut by watching highlights from the 2018 Buenos Aires Youth Olympics that YAKbattles shared below:

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Bridget Sharkey
Bridget Sharkey is a freelance writer covering pop culture, beauty, food, health and nature. Visit Scripps News to see more of Bridget's work.

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