The vision for the 2024 Paris Olympics is centered on gender equality and youth, the International Olympic Committee said in a press release Monday.
“While we will achieve gender equality already at the upcoming Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, we will see for the first time in Olympic history the participation of the exact same number of female athletes as male athletes. There is also a strong focus on youth,” IOC President Thomas Bach said.
That’s clear to see in the four sports that were confirmed for the Paris 2024 program on Monday, with competitive breakdancing (breaking) set to make its debut at the Games and the sports that will debut in the Tokyo 2021 Games—skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing—set to return.
Mainstream interest in breaking has been steadily growing. The most recent Red Bull BC One World Final, an annual 1v1 knockout tournament, just wrapped up in Austria, seeing millions around the world tune in. Japan’s B-Boy Shigekix, 18, made history as the youngest-ever breaker to win the Red Bull BC One World Final.
The competitors, referred to as B-Girls and B-Boys, will now set their sights on qualifying to represent their countries in the 2024 Games.
Which young breaking stars should you know heading to the lead-up to Paris 2024? Start with 17-year-old B-Girl Logan “Logistix” Edra, from San Diego, and B-Boys Jeremy “Icey Ives” Viray, 25, from Anchorage and “Vicious” Victor Montalvo, 26, from Orlando.
Breakdancing To Become Olympic Sport For The First Time In 2024
In 2018, “Logistix,” who has been breaking since she was nine years old, made headlines when she won the Silverback Open B-Girl solo competition. She is a member of the Underground Flow crew.
“Icey Ives” was introduced to breaking in Anchorage in 2007 and won his first out-of-state titles in 2015 at the Mighty4 and Freestyle Session events in Northern California. He joined Rock Force Crew that same year and went on to win several national and international titles, including the 2017 Mc Donald’s B-Boy Royal, 2018 and 2019 Redbull BC One and 2020 Make History Vol.1 in Oakland, California.
Montalvo learned breaking from his dad, who was a B-Boy in Mexico. A member of the Squadron and MF Kidz crews, he started battling at the age of 14 and has won multiple solo competitions, including the 2012 Montreal Skill-O-Meter, the 2015 Hip Opsession, 2015 Silverback Open, 2015 Freestyle Session, the 2015 Red Bull BC One World Final and the 2017 Undisputed World B-Boy Series solo competition.
In breaking, cyphers, or spontaneous freestyle jams, pre-dated organized competitions.
In a cypher, B-boys and B-girls form a circle and sequentially enter into the middle and dance. (To cypher, or cyphering is the act of dancing in a cypher.).
Unlike competitions and organized battles, there are fewer restrictions in a cypher. There can be “battles” in a cypher, where breakers can call-out other breakers and settle a score in the middle of the circle anytime or anywhere.
In competitions, judges evaluate breakers on criteria including musicality (following the tempo of the music), foundation (the fundamentals of breaking: Top Rock steps, Go Downs, Footwork, Freezes, Power Moves and Transitions), difficulty of movement, character and personality, style, execution, originality and creativity and composition of the rounds (whether a breaker’s round flows and makes sense).
“When looking at breaking, the first thing I’m looking for is a relationship between the dance and the music,” Crazy Legs, who has judged Red Bull BC One in the past, said via email. “Then it comes down to having a nice vocabulary of moves to fluidly put together while getting lost in the music. With all of those things in play, the moves that are the most dynamic-looking become so much greater when executed.”
Though the big-stage battles are mainly what the public sees in breaking, however, Montalvo stresses that it’s the community that really makes the sport what it is.
“People don’t know what b-boying really is,” Montalvo said. “It’s a lifestyle, it’s an art. I think a lot of people just see the competition side of it, the big stage. There’s way more to b-boying than big stage battles—it’s about the cyphers, the circles where there are no cameras.
“When I’m cyphering with real b-boys who know how to dance and have their own style, it’s like an out-of-body experience,” Montalvo continued. “You can feel the energy.”
It will be crucial that the breaking International Federation (IF), which will govern the sport at the international level and at the Olympics, will help guide the Paris 2024 organizers and the IOC as to how to maintain the soul and integrity of breaking while creating a clear competitive format audiences around the world can follow—the same way the IFs for skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing have done and will do for the Tokyo 2021 Games.
Red Bull BC One All Star and former world champion, Brazil’s Fabiano “Neguin” Carvalho Lopes, called the addition of Olympic breaking an “achievement to the whole world.”
Though not an Olympic hopeful, himself, Neguin is a well-known personality in the breaking community.
“Indeed, breaking is an art form within all the sacred elements in which fearlessly an inquiry is made to manifest something the world has and yet has not witnessed,” Neguin said via email. “A dance fury in evolution and contribution that has been forged by the blood sweet funk sweat and joyful tears of a human.”
The format for Olympic breaking and which events will serve as qualifiers will be announced in the months to come, but for now, these young all-stars are ready to infuse the Games with one of the world’s most artistic and youthful competitive sports.