Fri, 22 February 2019

Breakdancing has been added to the list of four "new" sports for inclusion in the 2024 Paris Olympics, along with the other three debutants from Tokyo that include surfing, reports Spike.

FRA Jeremy Flores Sean Evans-3-th

CULTURE OF COOL: The name Jeremy Flores will be heard a bit more now. Photo ISA / Evans

800px-Karate pictogram.svgThe International Surfing Association (ISA) yesterday expressed its "excitement and gratitude" to organisers of the Paris Games, saying that the announcement by the French takes surfing one step closer to long-term Olympic inclusion.

Surfing is one of four new sports submitted to the IOC by the French, although technically breakdancing - yes, breakdancing - is the only new one. Surfing, sports climbing and skateboarding are merely carried over from their debut in Tokyo next year. Have pity on squash, which remains out in the cold after vigorous campaigning, as does billiard sports and chess.

Karate debuts at the 2020 Olympics (in the country of its birth) but loses out in Paris.Karate has an even harder pill to swallow. Karate debuts at the 2020 Olympics (in the country of its birth) but drops from Paris. The World Karate Federation (WKF) was "deeply saddened", while the World Squash Federation (WSF) was equally bummed. They are established sports but perhaps deemed by the French to lack flair or "un tout petit peu désagréable". Why else turn them down?

It would not be expensive or difficult to include them. The head of the 2024 organising committee Tony Estanguet, a three-time Olympic canoeing champion, said as much at the announcement. The inclusions would make the Olympics "more urban" and "more artistic". They had decided to "present the IOC with four sports that are as creative as spectacular, geared towards youth and completely in line with our vision. They reflect perfectly Paris 2024's identity".

The recent success story of "breaking" is intriguing. It was included in the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires last year to massive success, with Russia's Sergei Chernyshev, otherwise known as BBoy Bumblebee, taking gold in the boys' division and Japan's Ramu Kawai taking gold in the girls.

Olympics reporter Nick Hope covered the event for the BBC, saying he spent several days at their urban park that featured breaking, sport climbing, freestyle BMX and 3v3 basketball, "and every day was a sellout. People voted in their thousands there and given what I witnessed, I've no doubts breaking will be a huge success in Paris".

He admits that he was sceptical about several sports "with little history or experience" being "thrown into the Youth Olympics by the IOC", but "breaking was one of the major success stories of the Games and it plays perfectly into the IOC's drive to boost the 'youth' appeal of the senior Olympics".

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WAVE POOL PRO: Jeremy Flores is the type of surfer who thrives in wave pools. Photo WSL / Cestari

The BBC has also reported that "as well as the proposed sports, Paris organisers also announced that the 2024 Games would allow the public to immerse themselves in the Olympic experience, through virtual and connected sports". Members of the public would also be able to run the marathon course on the same day as the event "straight after the Olympic race, under the same conditions as those faced by the athletes".

"With Paris 2024, the spectators of the Games finally become actors of the Games," said Estanguet.

The list of proposed new sports will be reviewed internally and granted provisional approval at the 134th IOC Session in Lausanne on June 24 this year before receiving formal confirmation by the IOC Executive Board in December 2020 following the Tokyo 2020 Games.

The forever waffling but likeable ISA President Fernando Aguerre said: "On behalf of the global surfing community, I would like to personally thank the leadership and sports team at Paris 2024 for giving us this opportunity and for embracing the value of Surfing in their 2024 Games concept.

"With Surfing's unique lifestyle, youthful values and socially engaged athletes and fans, we have no doubt that our sport will make an exceptional contribution to the Paris 2024 vision of an Olympic Games, "Made for Sharing". Surfing is a sport for the new era of Olympism. Combining high-performance with a connection to the environment, sustainability and self-improvement, Surfing aligns perfectly with Paris 2024 and the Olympic values.

"France has a rich and deep tradition in our sport. Having hosted the most important events in the ISA calendar as well as a multitude of annual, top-level professional events, France is also the proud home to some of the world's best surfers. Together with our friends and partners in the French Surfing Federation, we look forward to continuing to advocate and celebrate this incredible opportunity to showcase our sport to the world in 2024."

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