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The Olympians declare: You may now break it down!5 min read

December 31, 2020 4 min read


The Olympians declare: You may now break it down!5 min read

Reading Time: 4 minutes
File:Olympic rings with transparent rims.svg - Wikimedia Commons
The Olympic Rings are the Olympic Games’ official symbol. Image: Wikipedia

When you think of the Olympic games, do you think of a sprinter or perhaps a skilled archer? Well, you’d better expand your horizons because the Olympics just got a whole lot cooler. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has recently added all sorts of urban sports such as climbing and skateboarding to their list. But they’ve topped it off with something incredible: Breakdancing is officially an Olympic Sport!

A little bit about breakdancing

Also called breaking and B-boying, breakdancing was invented in New York City in the 1970s. It is an energetic form of dance that includes stylized footwork and athletic moves such as backspins or head spins.

hip hop breakdancing GIF
A man performs a head spin . Image: GIPHY

Even though people perform it on the streets and at underground events, breakdancing is by no means easy. It is packed with martial arts and gymnastics that can only the most athletic among us can execute. So, it is no surprise that the IOC would consider it fit to be an Olympic Sport.

Owliver’s Obscure Observation: What’s the ‘break’ in break dancing? The term break refers to the rhythms and sounds produced by deejays. To make music for breakdancers, deejays mix sounds from various song samples and produce a continuous dancing beat. 

In fact, breakdancing is extremely popular globally, even in India. Watch Johanna Rodriguez, India’s finest B-girl, wow you with her moves.

The Olympics

Did you know that the Olympic Games was an ancient sporting competition held in Athens in Greece? Every four years, the Greeks would gather and watch their finest athletes compete completely naked! Yup, you read that right. The Olympic athletes in ancient Greece would wear no clothes while competing. They would just douse themselves in olive oil, and go for it.

The Try guys recreated the ancient olympics and the results were sweaty, oily, and absolutely hilarious. Watch their attempt at recreating the olympics here.

However, ancient Greece’s naked Gala came to an end at some point and it was only in 1896 that the IOC was formed. Finally, the clothed Olympics as we know them, were pole-vaulted into existence. Now the Olympics are one of the most prestigious sporting events that most athletes spend their lifetimes dreaming about.

Ancient Greece, race illustration
Athletes didn’t win a medals at the ancient Olympics, only wreaths of leaves. Image: The Guardian

Owliver’s Obscure Observation:  While the world usually closely watches the Olympic Games that occur every four years, there are also smaller Olympic events. Paralympic Games, which are held for physically and mentally disabled individuals, occur parallelly with the Olympic Games. There are also Summer, Winter Olympics and Youth Olympics that occur more frequently. 

Break Dancing Debuted at the 2018 Youth Olympics in Beijing, but 2024 is the first time it will be part of the main Olympic Games. Image: CNN

Women and the Olympics

Two women compete in a race at the Paralympics. Image: Differencebetween.net

The first time women participated in the Olympics was in 1900 when the Olympics were held in Paris. Since then, their participation has only increased. Now in an exciting full-circle moment, the number of women and men participating in the Olympics in Paris in 2024 will be equal for the very first time! There will also be more mixed events than ever before. Mixed events are events where both men and women compete against each other. 2024 is already looking pretty great! Until then, let’s just hibernate.

happy gluten free Sticker by Nom Nom Paleo
Image: GIPHY


Try it with Owliver:

For those of you that aren’t yet B-Boys and B-Girls, watch this free lesson from Free Focus Dance and get started on your path to the Olympics. Don’t forget to share your breakdancing progress with us on Instagram.


With Excerpts From: CNN, Reuters, Olympic.org, Britannica

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