Alexander Hassenstein / Staff

Scoot: Should breakdancing be an Olympic sport?

June 26, 2019 - 12:45 pm

Four new events have been provisionally added to the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, France. The new events are: breakdancing, skateboarding, surfing and climbing. Of the four new events, breakdancing seems to be causing the most controversy.

Facebook posts abouts this story focused most on criticizing breakdancing as an Olympic event. One post suggested that if breakdancing is an Olympic event then hopscotch should also be added. Another post said tha breakdancing should be an Olympic event right after the “Red rover, red rover” child’s game. But is it really that much of a stretch for breakdancing to be an Olympic sport?

The introduction of snowboarding as an Olympic event was widely criticized. Snowboarding was added to the Winter Olympic at the 1998 Winter Games in Nagano, Japan. Many sports fans did not consider snowboarding as a discipline worthy of being an event at the Olympics arguing that it was an activity of a younger, renegade generation; but snowboarding-related events have become very popular and definitely helped introduce the Olympics to young generations. As a Baby Boomer who snowboards, I loved and supported the addition of snowboarding to the Olympics and thought it clearly qualified as a sport worthy of the Olympics. defines breakdancing this way:

break dancing or break·danc·ing


a style of acrobatic dancing originating in the mid-1970s, often performed to rap music usually by teenage males in the streets, and characterized by intricate footwork, pantomime, spinning headstands, tumbling, and elaborate improvised virtuosic movements

The description of breakdancing gives it credibility as a sport. Since breakdancing was invented by America’s black youth and is seen by many as an urban activity, it may be difficult to think of it as an Olympic sport; but when you consider some of the other Olympic sports, it is easy to argue that breakdancing deserves to be an Olympic event.

There are events that make up the Summer Games that are not as challenging as breakdancing and might also be considered games we played as children. Badminton, table tennis (ping-pong), riding a horse, shooting and sailing are all Olympic events – so the physical challenge of breakdancing certainly surpasses the physical challenges of some of the events that are currently part of the Summer Olympics.

Many fans of the Olympics hear that breakdancing is being included as an Olympic sport and instinctively react with negativity. As far as the Facebook posts that compared breakdancing to children’s games – badminton and ping-pong can be included in that category.

There is a human tendency to resist change; and when change represents something that many across mainstream America - and the world - do not understand, but that tendency should not discredit the importance of change.

Based on current Olympic precedent – what is the argument that breakdancing should not be an Olympic event?

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