Step forward

Breakdancing moved a step closer to the 2024 Olympics, and now organizers can look to book a street venue in Paris.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Breakdancing moved a step closer to the 2024 Olympics, and now organizers can look to book a street venue in Paris.

Called breaking in Olympic circles, its medal debut was last October at the Buenos Aires Youth Summer Games. The street dance competitions will have 16 athletes in each of the men's and women's medal events in Paris.

IOC members formally endorsed requests from Paris officials in February and their own executive board in March to provisionally add breakdancing to the program, pending a final decision in December 2020.

Paris wants to add four sports to its program, though the other three - skateboarding, sport climbing, and surfing - will make Summer Games debuts in Tokyo next year.

"It's important for us in our concept to put sports out of the stadiums and in the heart of the city,'' said Tony Estanguet, the Paris 2024 president.

Estanguet said the search for a venue will only start now that his fellow International Olympic Committee members have added their approval.

All four sports must still prove themselves to Olympic observers, and could yet be removed from the Paris program ahead of final approval by the IOC board.

It is too late to add a replacement should any fall short, Estanguet said.

Breaking will likely also be attractive to 2028 Los Angeles Olympics organizers. The sports program for LA should be agreed in 2021, IOC sports director Kit McConnell said.

Surfing will spread the Paris Olympics out of the capital, potentially in Biarritz, with sailing races already set for Marseille.

The IOC, meanwhile, stripped Olympic status from troubled boxing body AIBA and will now organize qualifying and final tournaments for the Tokyo Games.

AIBA had created "very serious reputational, legal and financial risks'' for the IOC and its American stakeholders, Olympic inquiry panel chairman Nenad Lalovic said.

The election of AIBA president Gafur Rakhimov, who is under United States federal sanctions for suspected links to eastern European organized crime, prodded the IOC last year to investigate boxing's governance, debts and integrity of Olympic bouts.

The IOC had to avoid the consequences of fixed bouts or suspect results in Tokyo, said Morinari Watanabe, who leads the Olympic panel overseeing the next Olympic boxing competitions.

"It's not just losing trust in boxing. It's lost trust in the Olympic Games, it's lost trust in the IOC,'' said Watanabe, the president of the International Gymnastics Federation.

IOC president Thomas Bach said "we are all concerned with the refereeing.''