Get hip to this: Paris wants Olympic debut for breakdance

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PARIS (AP) — From the streets of New York to the Olympic podium: Breakdancing’s conquest of the globe seemingly knows no bounds.

Getting hip to breakdancing’s appeal with young audiences, organizers of the 2024 Paris Olympics want the dance sport that spread from New York in the 1970s to become a medal event at the games.

The final decision on which events make the cut will be made by the International Olympic Committee after the 2020 Tokyo Games. But simply being proposed on Thursday by Paris for an Olympic debut in 2024 was hailed by breakers as a milestone that will boost breakdancing’s global footprint and its acceptance as a bona fide competitive sport.

“It’s a victory for us. Even if it goes no further, we’ll still have won,” said Mounir Biba, one of the foremost breakdancers in France, which is a stronghold of the sport.

Also on Paris’ wish-list are climbing , surfing and skateboarding — which will all make their Olympic debuts at the 2020 Tokyo Games. The head of the Paris organizing committee, Tony Estanguet, announced the selection, disappointing other sports that lobbied for a spot, including karate and squash.

Paris’ proposal is the four sports together enter 248 athletes, evenly split between men and women. Room would have to be made elsewhere in the program to stay within the IOC’s ceiling of 10,500 Olympians in total.

In competitive breakdancing, also called breaking, breakers — alone or in teams — face off against each other in “battles,” taking turns to show off an array of imaginative, acrobatic and improvised moves to a DJ’s beats, watched by a judging panel that picks the winner. Breaking featured at the Youth Olympic Games last year.

“There’s simply no doubt about the athletic aspects of the discipline,” said Biba, fielding numerous questions at the Paris announcement about how breaking qualifies as a sport.

“I defy Cristiano Ronaldo to do just one of my movements,” he said.

Estanguet said the 2024 organizing committee wants “to connect the games to their era.”

Organizers noted the proposed sports have broad appeal to young people, large and active audiences on social media and, with skateboarding and breaking in particular, an urban base. Another advantage for Paris as it seeks to satisfy IOC efforts for less wasteful games is the four sports shouldn’t need large and complex new venues.

Estanguet said Paris organizers are also aiming to make the 2024 Games more participative than ever, by allowing members of the public to test themselves against the performances of Olympic athletes, in the real world or virtually.

That could include organizing a public marathon on the same route the Olympians run on, and on the same day. Organizers also are exploring connected technology that might allow spectators to virtually compete against Olympians. That could include riding a stationary bike at home and comparing that performance against those of cyclists in the Olympic races.

IOC gives more time to pick 2030 Olympic host, studies rotating Winter Games

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The 2030 Winter Olympic host, expected to be Salt Lake City or Sapporo, Japan, is no longer targeted to be decided before next fall, the IOC said in announcing wider discussions into the future of the Winter Games, including the possibility of rotating the Games within a pool of hosts.

The IOC Future Host Commission was granted more time to study factors, including climate change, that could impact which cities and regions host future Winter Olympics and Paralympics. The 2030 Winter Games host is not expected to be decided before or at an IOC session next September or October.

Hosts have traditionally been chosen by IOC members vote seven years before the Games, though recent reforms allow flexibility on the process and timeline. For example, the 2024 and 2028 Games were awarded to Paris and Los Angeles in a historic double award in 2017. The 2032 Summer Games were awarded to Brisbane last year without a traditional bid race.

Italy hosts the 2026 Winter Games in Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo.

There are three interested parties for the 2030 Winter Olympics, the IOC said Tuesday without naming them. Previously, Salt Lake City, Sapporo and Vancouver were confirmed as bids. Then in October, the British Columbia government said it would not support a Vancouver bid, a major setback, though organizers did not say that decision ended the bid. All three cities are attractive as past Winter Games hosts with existing venues.

U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee officials have said Salt Lake City is a likelier candidate for 2034 than 2030, but could step in for 2030 if asked.

The future host commission outlined proposals for future Winter Olympics, which included rotating hosts within a pool of cities or regions and a requirement that hosts have an average minimum temperature below freezing (32 degrees) for snow competition venues at the time of the Games over a 10-year period.

The IOC Executive Board gave the commission more time to study the proposals and other factors impacting winter sports.

The IOC board also discussed and will continue to explore a potential double awarding of the 2030 and 2034 Winter Olympic hosts.

Also Tuesday, the IOC board said that Afghanistan participation in the 2024 Olympics will depend on making progress in safe access to sports for women and young girls in the country.

On Monday, Human Rights Watch urged the IOC to suspend Afghanistan until women and girls can play sport in the country.

In a press release, the IOC board expressed “serious concern and strongly condemned the latest restrictions imposed by the Afghan authorities on women and young girls in Afghanistan, which prevent them from practicing sport in the country.” It urged Afghanistan authorities to “take immediate action at the highest level to reverse such restrictions and ensure safe access to sport for women and young girls.”

The IOC board also announced that North Korea’s National Olympic Committee will be reinstated when its suspension is up at the end of the year.

In September 2021, the IOC banned the North Korean NOC through the end of 2022, including banning a North Korean delegation from participating in the Beijing Winter Games, after it chose not to participate in the Tokyo Games.

North Korea, formally known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, was the only one of 206 National Olympic Committees to withdraw from Tokyo. The country made its choice in late March 2021, citing a desire “to protect our athletes from the global health crisis caused by the malicious virus infection.”

The IOC said in September 2021 that it “provided reassurances for the holding of safe Games and offered constructive proposals to find an appropriate and tailor-made solution until the very last minute (including the provision of vaccines), which were systematically rejected by the PRK NOC.”

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Olympic champion Justine Dufour-Lapointe leaves moguls for another skiing discipline

Justine Dufour-Lapointe
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Justine Dufour-Lapointe, the 2014 Olympic moguls champion, is leaving the event to compete in freeriding, a non-Olympic skiing discipline.

“After three Olympic cycles and 12 years on the World Cup circuit, I felt that I needed to find a new source of motivation and had to push my limits even more so I can reach my full potential as a skier,” the 28-year-old Montreal native said in a social media video, according to a translation from French. “Today, I am starting a new chapter in my career. … I want to perfect myself in another discipline. I want to connect with the mountain differently. Above all, I want to get out of my comfort zone in a way I’ve never done before.”

Dufour-Lapointe said she will compete on the Freeride World Tour, a series of judged competitions described as:

There‘s a start gate at the summit and a finish gate at the bottom. That’s it. Best run down wins. It truly is that simple. Think skiers and snowboarders choosing impossible-looking lines through cornices and cliff-faces and nasty couloirs. Think progressive: big jumps, mach-speed turns and full-on attack. Think entertaining.

Dufour-Lapointe has retired from moguls skiing, according to a Freeride World Tour press release, though she did not explicitly say that in social media posts Tuesday.

At the 2014 Sochi Winter Games, Dufour-Lapointe denied American Hannah Kearney‘s bid to become the first freestyle skier to repeat as Olympic champion. Older sister Chloé took silver in a Canadian one-two.

Dufour-Lapointe also won the world title in 2015, then Olympic silver in 2018 behind Frenchwoman Perrine Laffont.

Chloé announced her retirement in September. A third Dufour-Lapointe Olympic moguls skier, Maxime, retired in 2018.

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