Breaking: Everything to Know About the New Olympic Sport

Breaking: Everything to Know About the New Olympic Sport

Breaking news! For the first time ever, breaking, AKA break dancing is an official event in the 2024 Summer Olympic Games. For those unfamiliar with the dance style, get all the information you need to be ready to watch some of the most talented B-Boys and B-Girls in the world bust a move.

What is Breaking?

The art form/dance style known as breaking may be new to The Olympics, but it’s history and cultural impact have been around for decades. Dating back to the 1970s, breaking came about along with the rise of hip-hop culture in New York City. Since then, the dance-off style competition has continued gaining popularity.

Official international competitions began in the 90s, and the sport has now finally made it to its Olympic debut.

Breaking consists of a combination of power moves, stylized footwork, acrobatics and of course, style. Improvisation and adaptation are key skills needed by B-Boys and B-Girls (formal names for break dancers) to make it big in breaking. Some of the most common moves in breaking include windmills, flips, freezes, half sweeps top rock and more.

Battle Format

The Olympic event will follow a tournament style where breakers compete head-to-head, with individual events for men and women. 16 B-Boys and 16 B-Girls may compete at the games and will be divided into four groups of four for the first round.

During the first round, each group of four will compete against the other members in their group, with the top two finishers moving on to the next phase (scoring explanation below). This is called the Round Robin.

Next comes the quarterfinals, where the final eight dancers are seeded 1-8 and placed in a bracket, with the 8th seed going up against the 1 seed, 7th against 2nd and so on. This continues through the semis, when the final four compete, until there are just two competitors left. The finals will then determine who the first official Olympic Breaking Medalists will be.

So, those are the rounds. Now, each round of The Olympic sport consists of three battles, also known as “throw downs”. One B-Boy or Girl starts, performing for up to a minute, in which the other breaker responds with their own moves. This happens three times.

The DJ/MC plays a variety of music, ranging from soul and funk to today’s top hip hop, meaning the dancers must be able to adapt and improvise to match the desired style.

Scoring System

But how do they decide the winner? During The Olympics, a panel of at least three judges will score dancers on five main criteria. Keep in mind, while these are subjective, judges are well-versed on what a winning performance consists of.

  • Technique: Ability to perform the moves correctly and control the body
  • Vocabulary: Ability to perform a variety of moves in multiple positions (down rock and top rock)
  • Execution: Ability to perform moves cleanly and distinctly from one to the next
  • Musicality: Ability to stay on the beat and match moves to the music
  • Originality: Ability to stand apart from other B-Boys and B-Girls

Each criterion is worth 20% of a final score, but breaking isn’t judged numerically like some other sports (i.e., gymnastics). Rather, judges use a digital sliding scale, shifting the scale further toward the competitor that is performing better in whatever criteria it may be.

Qualifying for Olympic Breaking

Countries participating in the 2024 Summer Olympics are able to qualify up to one B-Boy and one B-Girl. Dancers must qualify for the games through a series of competitions overseen by the World DanceSport Federation.

Learn more about who has qualified for Team USA here.

How Can I Watch Breaking Live at the Olympics?

From the Round Robin to the final Battle for Gold, make sure you know when to tune into NBCU for these two historic days of competition.

Check out the event schedule below and watch it all live on E! Network on August 9th and 10th.

Breaking Schedule for Friday, August 9

Watch the following schedule live on E! Network, DIRECTV channel 236.

  • 10 a.m. ET: B-Girls Round Robin
  • 2 p.m. ET: B-Girls Quarterfinal 1
  • 2:07 p.m. ET: B-Girls Quarterfinal 2
  • 2:14 p.m. ET: B-Girls Quarterfinal 3
  • 2:21 p.m. ET: B-Girls Quarterfinal 4
  • 2:45 p.m. ET: B-Girls Semifinal 1
  • 2:52 p.m. ET: B-Girls Semifinal 2
  • 3:14 p.m. ET: B-Girls Bronze Medal Battle
  • 3:23 p.m. ET: B-Girls Gold Medal Battle

The women’s finals in breaking will also be broadcasted at 8 p.m. ET on NBC Primetime.

Breaking Schedule for Saturday, August 10

Watch the following schedule live on E! Network, DIRECTV channel 236.

  • 10 a.m. ET: B-Boys Round Robin
  • 2 p.m. ET: B-Boys Quarterfinal 1
  • 2:07 p.m. ET: B-Boys Quarterfinal 2
  • 2:14 p.m. ET: B-Boys Quarterfinal 3
  • 2:21 p.m. ET: B-Boys Quarterfinal 4
  • 2:45 p.m. ET: B-Boys Semifinal 1
  • 2:52 p.m. ET: B-Boys Semifinal 2
  • 3:14 p.m. ET: B-Boys Bronze Medal Battle
  • 3:23 p.m. ET: B-Boys Gold Medal Battle

The men’s finals in breaking will also be broadcasted at 8 p.m. ET on NBC Primetime.

Why is Breaking a New Olympic Sport?

In an effort to both diversify The Olympics and bring in a younger crown, breaking was first featured at The Olympic Games during the 2018 Summer Youth Olympic Games in Argentina, where it was a huge success.

Because of that, breaking was added to the Paris 2024 program, and fans are eagerly anticipating the monumental moment!

Keep up with all the newest Olympics sports here

Watch Breaking on DIRECTV

The 2024 Paris Olympic Games are just around the corner, so now is the time to make sure you have access to all the channels you need to watch your favorite Olympic events live from your home. From the brand-new breaking to gymnastics and everything in between, this is going to be an Olympics to remember.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Breaking?

Breaking, AKA Break Dancing, is the newest Summer Olympic sport. The event consists of solo dance battles in a tournament style format.

Who is representing Team USA for Breaking at the 2024 Summer Olympics?

B-Girl Sunny Choi and B-Boys Victor Montalvo and Jeffrey Louis will be representing Team USA in Breaking at the Olympics.

When is Breaking on during the Olympics?

Fans can watch two days of breaking battles take place August 9th and 10th on E! Network.

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