Roxrite at Freestyle Session - photo by Kien Quan
Breaking and the Olympics are two things from totally separate worlds for me. I come from a Judo background did it since I was about 6 years old up into my 20's(I'm 45 now). Dreams of being an Olympic Athlete were once abundant in my goals in life. Was a 3 time Junior National Champion in the sport and even got introduced to Breaking when I started as well. My first National Championship took place in Odessa, Texas in 83 we drove all the way there from San Diego(I was 8 years old at the time). There was a small dance party in the lobby of the hotel we stayed at and since there were kids from all over the nation and Hip Hop was becoming a big thing the DJ threw some on music. All of a sudden all the young Judoka's from New York to Cali started hitting the floor. Was insane to see how big the dance was, shoot even my younger sister got in the cipher and busted a kick worm lol. The next day was totally different from everyone in Gi's going for the kill in throws, chokes, and armbars. Breaking faded away not too long after that in 1985 or so only to reappear in my life again when I turned 18(that would be 1993 for those not keeping up).
LINK TO OLYMPIC ANNOUNCEMENT.
LINK TO USA TODAY ARTICLE.
So today the IOC announced that Breaking will be an included discipline in the 2024 Olympics Games taking place in Paris, France. In France, Breaking and dance, in general, is huge the government backs it like no other with arts programs and funding. On the flip, there has been a divide in the community worldwide on who, what, why, etc etc. I was involved earlier on with the Youth Olympics being a board member and helping make crucial decisions that catapulted the whole discussion. Thanks to Steve Graham aka Silverback who was very proactive in making sure the UDEF/Pro Breaking Tour got off the ground and proper connections were made worldwide to guide it in the right direction. We got connected with Jean-Laurent who works closely with the IOC and WDSF to ensure that the community voices were heard. I also had the pleasure of serving as a Board Member for the Youth Olympics Games that took place in Buenos Aires along with many other connectors in our scene. Many of the decisions came from voicing our opinions on floor size, dj's, judges, etc, etc. Was a springboard to create the buzz which ultimately leads to today.
With the whole divide though in the community though it sort of made me take a step back with Steve standing down from chairman position at UDEF/PBT and putting myself in his place, I had to make sure that what we were doing was headed in the right direction as an organization. So the whole politics behind the Olympics weren't really anything I wanted to be in the middle of, although I do poke my head in quite a bit to level things off from time to time. In my mind, if Breaking is going to be a "sport" in the Olympics then it will only help what we are doing with the competitions via Freestyle Session, Pro Breaking Tour, and every other event in the world. And here we are Olympics announcement where do we go from here? For myself and the rest of UDEF/PBT, we plan on doing exactly what we have been doing nothing changes. We're still going to give you real and raw events and feature the entire culture as a whole. Does it make Breaking a sport? Yes for the Olympics but haven't we sportified what we do already? Holding major competitions all over the world to an audience with brackets and rankings etc(implemented some of this in the earlier years from Judo and Wrestling). Doesn't make what we do any different in my mind. The beauty of breaking is that it can be whatever you want it to be. You wanna practice with your friends in a garage, perform theater-style, background in a rap show, a one-man show ala Bboy Ivan, Storm, Salah it's all still there for you to do. Just now the next generation can also add Breaking in the dreams and aspirations list of things they can accomplish in an Olympic setting. Imagine that you can get a GOLD MEDAL in Breaking or represent your country on one of the biggest platforms we know. Imagine a Bboy or Bgirl winning the Olympics and winding up on the box of Wheaties, ok ok I'll stop.
For myself, the Olympic Gold Medal was one dream and the other side of the coin was to become a dope Bboy or Breaker. In 2024 they will merge and become a reality for the next generation together. And to be honest that is DOPE!
Chime in with your thoughts below! All feedback is appreciated.
chairman UDEF/PBT - CEO of Freestyle Session