PARIS, (Reuters) – The inclusion of breakdancing at the 2024 Olympics might be surprising but organizers were drawn to the sport’s potential to attract a younger fan and grow the Olympic audience in the internet age, says Paris Games head Tony Estanguet.
Breakdancing was one of four new sports to win a place at the Paris Games – alongside surfing, skateboarding and sport climbing – after being confirmed by the International Olympic Committee earlier this month.
Estanguet added that although the decision to add dancing to the Games list came in for some criticism, most of the feedback he received had been overwhelmingly positive.
“What attracted us to this sport was its ability to attract the young,” he told Reuters in an interview. “It is a sport widely watched on all digital platforms, which is widely used by young people.
“It’s very impressive both technically and physically, what these athletes are doing, which is why we were attracted to this sport. Feedback has been very good.
“There are always a few critics, but overall … I find, across the different regions of France, that there is very positive feedback on adding a cut as a new sport.”
The organizers of the games had been pursuing a new sport to broaden the appeal of the Olympics and cut dancing to fit the bill because it had already been part of the program at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires in 2018, he added.
“We found climbing, skateboarding, surfing and cutting, and we really add events that come from a completely different world, with fans, who might not otherwise be involved in the Olympics,” he said Estanguet.
“This allows us to expand the number of fans and viewers.”
The 2020 Games in Tokyo have been postponed until 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic and public opinion about whether the event should go ahead, with 60% of respondents in a poll in November saying the Tokyo Games should be postponed further or cancel them.
Estanguet said there are no such doubts about the 2024 Olympics in France.
“What is a matter of public opinion in Tokyo is specific to Tokyo,” he added. “We did a survey this week which shows that Paris 2024 in France continues to receive widespread support from the French.”