Breakdancing Heading To The 2024 Olympics Games

By GQ Middle East
24 February 2019
Breakdancing, Olympics

First lightsabre duelling was certified as a competitive sport, now breakdancing set for the biggest stage of all

We like were the sporting world is at these days.

First came the news that lightsabre duelling was officially acknowledged as a competitive sport by the French Fencing Federation. And now we hear that breakdancing is set to be included as an official sport at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, pending ratification.

The French are, as the kids say these days, “killing it”.

For many of us brought up in the 1980s, this is major, err, breakin’ news.

Of course b-boying (break-boying) had its roots in many cultures long before the 80s. But it wasn’t the early part of the decade that b-boys and b-girls in the South Bronx, New York that brought it to the masses.

By 1984 it was known to the mainstream as breakdancing, a term that many of the pioneers of the art form despised.

That year saw the release of Breakin’, also known as Breakdance in some non-US markets, starring the fantastically named Adolfo "Shabba-Doo" Quinones, Michael "Boogaloo Shrimp" Chambers and Lucinda Dickey. For good measure it had cameos by Ice-T and Jean-Claude Van Damme. 

 

Chronicling the duels between two rival dancing groups, Breakin’ quickly became a classic of its genre, though it must be said the competition was not fierce.

Its success (it grossed over $38m in 1984) meant that a sequel, Breakin 2: Electric Boogaloo was fast-tracked just seven months later.

Breakdancing as a media fad peaked in the mid-80s with many established incorporating it into their videos.

Billy Joel even added a gratuitous breakdance sequence in his famous video of "Uptown Girl", starring supermodel and future ex-wife Christie Brinkley.
And though Michael Jackson, who knew a move or two on the dancefloor, was not an out and out breakdancer, he is often associated with the moon walk, which b-boys had been perfecting on the streets for years.

After that breakdancing, an art form that demands volumes of analysis, returned to the periphery of pop culture, to the streets where it all began. As with everything 1980s, a revival was always just a matter of time.

The 2024 Olympics? Bring on the b-boys and b-girls, we say.