WDSF Breaking for Gold

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Crowds, beats and dramatic battles stake their claim for full Olympic status

14 Oct 2018 14:14

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Photos: Owen Hammond for WDSF

Nobody quite knew how the sport-viewing public or wider Olympic world would react to the inclusion of breaking as part of Buenos Aires 2018. 

But over four days at the Parque Mujeres Argentinas, the sport delivered major helpings of everything that modernisers want to bring to the Olympic movement: youthful energy, thrills and a streetwise creativity.

The crowds turned up in large numbers and made an even larger noise. The battling format, with competitors eliminating rivals on their way to winning medals, was immediate and exciting, and gave the art form a genuine sporting feel.

There are not many events where the judges come out and do head spins prior to competition, but breaking is the honourable exception.

Some great prospects emerged, too. Ram (Ramu Kawai, JPN) won gold in the b-girl event and also took top spot in the mixed team event with b-boy B4 (Le Minh Hieu, VIE). B-boy Bumblebee (Sergei Chernyshev, RUS) struck gold in the b-boy category while also taking bronze in the mixed-team event with partner b-girl Ella (Anna Thurner, AUT).

The competitors are in no doubt that they would love to move up to the biggest sporting stage of all.

“I would love to see the event move to the Olympic Games,” Ram said. “It would be a dream to go and compete in that, and I would love to try and win it. I think we all feel that way. The crowds in Buenos Aires have shown how much energy breaking can bring. It would be a really good Olympic sport.”

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The event, meanwhile, was not only about discovering whether Breaking would work at an Olympics. It was also about discovering whether the Breaking world was comfortable with a sporting setting.

The need to keep things real was at the forefront of their minds: hence the inclusion of a highly respected panel of judges and top hip-hop DJs. This was no pale imitation of what is going on in Breaking elsewhere. But were they convinced by the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games? 

Judge Richard Colon (USA), better known as Breaking legend Crazy Legs, arrived in Argentina as ‘a gatekeeper’ of the scene, and was very impressed by the experience. 

“I would like to see this at the Olympics, it can have a future if the federation and Olympic Committee can come to terms about moving it forward,” he said.

“What’s happened so far in Buenos Aires is amazing. I was open-minded coming here, and I hope my influence from being on the inside has helped. We need to preserve the association with hip-hop.

“I’ve also really enjoyed the mixed-team Breaking. Putting together dancers for the two-on-twos, pairing different countries together - that is totally representative of hip-hop culture. 

“Hip-hop has served as a bridge between cultures in the past, creating alliances, and I love that. I think we can inject a whole bunch of new life into the Olympic scene.”

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