Breaking approved as one of four provisional sports for Paris 2024

Sport climbing, surfing, and skateboarding were also selected for the 2024 Olympic Games by the IOC Session.

By ZK Goh

Breaking, sport climbing, surfing and skateboarding have been provisionally confirmed for inclusion at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

The four sports showcasing 12 events received unanimous approval at the International Olympic Committee Session in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Official confirmation of the full sporting programme and athlete places in the French capital is expected at an IOC Executive Board meeting in December 2020.

When the sports were first announced back in February, three-time Olympic champion and head of the Paris 2024 organising committee Tony Estanguet said the new sports would make the Olympics more 'more urban' and 'more artistic'.

"I am delighted with the IOC session's decision vote in favour of our proposal," said Estanguet on Tuesday after a heartfelt presentation.

"Our role is to enrich the Olympic programme with new sports to reach new audiences especially the youth."

Paris 2024 will use 95% existing or temporary venues to stage the competitions featuring 248 athletes.

After the vote, no further sports can be put forward for inclusion at the Games in the French capital.

New audience for breaking

Breaking is set to reach a whole new audience in the French capital, where it will make its full Olympic debut if finalised by the IOC Executive Board next year.

The sport was a hit at Buenos Aires 2018, where it was included at the Youth Olympic Games for the first time.

Russia's Sergei Chernyshev, competing under the b-boy name Bumblebee, won gold in the boys' event in Argentina, while Japan's Ramu Kawai (b-girl Ram) won the girls' title.

Building from Tokyo 2020

Sport climbing, surfing, and skateboarding will make their debuts in the Japanese capital next year.

If confirmed following their maiden Olympic appearances, the three sports will appear on the programme for a second time in Paris.

All three sports — as well as breaking — have been selected with a younger audience in mind, incorporating more diversity and urban culture alongside traditional sports.

Exact athlete quotas for the four sports will be decided by the IOC Executive Board if the sports are given final approval.

International Surfing Association president Fernando Aguerre, reacting to the result, said: "Surfing is a sport for the new era of the Games, a sport that is truly ‘Made For Sharing’ in line with Paris 2024 values. 

"Surfing combines high-performance action with a connection to the environment, sustainability and self-improvement. 

"Surfing aligns perfectly with Paris 2024 and the Olympic values and we’re proud to have the chance to continue our journey with the IOC."

Reacting back in February, the International Federation of Sport Climbing declared: "Our climb goes on", while World Skate noted: "We are putting all our energies to guarantee a success for the skateboarding in the Olympics since its debut in Tokyo 2020."

Other sports which campaigned unsuccessfully for inclusion in Paris include squash, billiard sports, and chess, as well as baseball/softball and karate, both of which will be present at Tokyo 2020.

The World Baseball Softball Confederation reacted to its exclusion by saying: "WBSC remains fully committed to boosting the growth of baseball-softball in France and around the world. We believe our inclusive, accessible sports can promote the Olympic Values globally and connect young people with the Movement for decades to come. We remain convinced of the value that we can bring to the Olympic Programme."

World Karate Federation president Antonio Espinós said: "Our sport has grown exponentially over the last years, and we still haven’t had the chance to prove our value as an Olympic sport since we will be making our debut as an Olympic discipline in Tokyo 2020. We believed that we had met all the requirements and that we had the perfect conditions to be added to the sports programme; however, we have learned today that our dream will not be coming true."

Meanwhile, the World Squash Federation and Professional Squash Association released a joint statement, expressing "great disappointment" at squash's exclusion. "Squash has a vibrant and real forward-looking programme rooted in constant innovation, which strives for more inclusiveness and sustainability, youth engagement and equality across all of our activities in and outside of the court," it insisted.

A "creative and innovative" Games experience

One vision of Paris 2024 is that "sport can change lives".

The organisers intend to hold mass-participation events during Games time, including giving the public the opportunity to run the marathon course on the same day as the event.

"We have made the goal of engaging with the sports movement, the public authorities and the people of France one of our main priorities," Estanguet said after a meeting of the IOC Coordination Commission in Marseille, which will host football and sailing.

"This desire to get the population involved from the outset is a reflection of our ambition to offer Games that are different, and which make creativity the Paris 2024 hallmark." — Tony Estanguet

"This desire to innovate and surprise spans every part of our project, for example the opening of some of the Games events to the general public or the celebratory dimension of our project, placing sport at the heart of the city, which has never been done on such a scale before," he added.