Let it be known that the first Youth Olympic gold medalists in break dancing are Sergei “Bumblebee” Chernyshev of Russia and Ramu Kawai of Japan.
Teenagers, some of whom went by nicknames like Bad Matty, Senorita Carlota and KennyG, went head-to-head in dance battles in preliminaries on Sunday and quarterfinals, semifinals and finals Monday. They performed on a mat atop an outdoor basketball court to a musical beat and emcees in Buenos Aires.
Judges determined winners using six criteria: creativity, personality, technique, variety, perfomativity and musicality. A mixed-gender team event is set for Wednesday and Thursday.
Bumblebee, dancing in a white track suit with Russian flag colors, won all four rounds against France’s Martin Lejeune. In the girls’ final, the 2018 World Youth champion Kawai swept Canadian Emma Misak in four rounds.
Bronze medals went to Japan’s Shigeyuki “Shigekix” Nakarai and South Korean Kim “Yell” Yeri.
“Breaking (also called b-boying or b-girling) is an urban dance style,” according to the Games’ official website. “The urban dance style originated during the mid 1970s in the Bronx borough of New York City.”
The U.S. did not have a breakdancing entrant. Athletes qualified by submitting videos of themselves online, with the winners being selected for the World Youth Breaking Championships in Japan, where 11 athletes qualified for the Youth Olympics.
The IOC announced in 2016 that break dancing would debut at the Youth Olympics in 2018.
Break dancing has never been up for a vote for Olympic inclusion, but the World DanceSport Federation is recognized by the IOC, the first step toward possible addition to the Olympic Games.
The Youth Olympics, for athletes ages 14 to 18, debuted in Singapore in 2010, followed in 2014 in Nanjing, China. Youth Winter Games were in Innsbruck, Austria, in 2012 and Lillehammer, Norway, in 2016.
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