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(Stacker) – You’re used to seeing athletics, gymnastics and swimming at the Summer Olympics, but did you know that breakdancing is now an Olympic event? Stacker has investigated the new sports and disciplines coming to the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Many sports are vying to be included in the Olympic Games in order to gain more attention and increase participation. The International Olympic Committee’s revenue-sharing model doesn’t hurt either – after the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, the IOC distributed almost 523 million US dollars to the international federations that govern the sports in the Olympic program.

Although many sports try, getting into the Olympic program is a complex process that can take years. The Olympic sports program has two elements: the initial program consists of the core sports you see at every Games and the city-selected sports.

To be considered for inclusion in the Olympic Games, the sport must have an international federation that the IOC “recognizes.” Recognized international federations have participants from a variety of countries and continents, a world championship, and abide by many rules, including those against doping and competition manipulation. However, recognized status does not guarantee inclusion in the Olympic Games – chess, billiards, and cheerleading are all IOC-recognized sports, but are not yet part of the Olympic Games.

About seven years before the Olympic Games, IOC members vote on the first sports programme. Once a sport is on this list, it becomes part of the programme almost permanently, although this is not always the case.

With IOC approval, host cities can also add new sports to the program to make their Olympic Games unique. Host cities make their selections based on 35 criteria, including the number of athletes, attractiveness to young people, cost and local popularity. The number of new sports can vary – the 2020 Tokyo Olympics featured five new sports. Paris kept new sports such as skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing and added one new sport to the mix.

Sports can also change their disciplines from Olympic year to Olympic year to modernize them, appeal to younger generations and provide more opportunities for women. In Tokyo, a 3×3 discipline was introduced in basketball, giving the urban half-court game an Olympic platform. In Paris, you will also see several new disciplines that will change the Games.

Break

The only new sport for Paris 2024, breakdancing (or break dancing) emerged in the 1970s with the rise of hip-hop culture in the United States. While some consider it more of an art form embedded in culture, a competitive version developed as a sport.

The World DanceSport Federation took breakdancing under its wing to establish competitive dance at the Olympic Games. The IOC included it in the 2018 Youth Olympic Games program, where it began to receive more and more attention. Looking for games with a youthful, urban feel, Paris nominated it for the sports program.

The competition in Paris will feature men’s and women’s events, each with 16 b-boys and b-girls competing. They will compete in a head-to-head battle of three one-minute rounds in which the contestants will show off their moves. Judges will look for the best physicality, creativity and personal style as they compare the dancers to each other rather than to a set of execution metrics like in gymnastic exercises. American b-girl Sunny Choi, Japanese b-boy Shigekix and b-girl Ami, and Canadian b-boy Phil Wizard will show off some moves in the competition.

Men in synchronized swimming

When synchronized swimming was introduced to the Olympics in 1984, it was a women-only sport. However, men had participated in the sport as early as the 1940s, but were eventually pushed out as universities looked for ways to offer women’s sports to meet Title IX requirements.

While men still competed at lower levels, the world governing body World Aquatics did not allow them to compete at the World Championships until 2015. In 2022, it announced that men would be allowed to compete at the Olympic Games.

At the Olympics, men are only allowed to compete in the team event – the duet remains exclusively for women and they can only take up to two places on the eight-person team. Not every team is expected to have men, but Italy’s team could include Giorgio Minisini, the first man to compete in a team event at senior level. From the United States could come 45-year-old Bill May, a pioneer and activist for the inclusion of men in the sport.

Marathon Walking Mixed Relay

As the IOC pushes for greater equality between the sexes, many sports have introduced mixed relay events to give women more chances to win medals. In athletics – also known as track and field – there have been major differences in the past for female walkers. Walking was first included as a men’s discipline at the 1908 Olympic Games in London. Women, on the other hand, only got an Olympic discipline in 2000, namely the 20 kilometers.

After the 2020 Summer Olympics, World Athletics decided to eliminate the men’s 50-kilometer race, not only because they considered shorter distances more marketable, but also to make room for a mixed relay in which both men and women have a chance to win two medals.

The event will see 22 teams of two running two relay legs each, covering the 42.195km, the marathon length. Although the event is designed to promote gender equality, the men will still run further – they will complete legs of 12.195km and 10km, while the women will complete two 10km legs.

Kayak cross

Traditionally, Olympic kayak slalom is an individual event in which athletes race against the clock as they navigate a roaring whitewater course. The new kayak cross competition turns it into a full-contact sport in which four athletes race down the whitewater course at the same time, vying to be the first to cross the finish line.

Instead of starting in the water, athletes drop onto the course from a ramp and paddle downstream and upstream around gates, jostling each other to find the best line. Another added feature is the roll zone, a section of the course where paddlers must turn their boat completely around, including a full head-on submersion. American Evy Leibfarth, Australian Jessica Fox and Britain’s Joe Clarke are names to keep an eye on in this debut event.

Kitesurfing

Sailing has been featured at every Olympic Games since 1900 and has continued to evolve. There are now also boat categories that are popular in the sport. In 2024, kiteboarding for men and women will be added to the program. In this racing class, athletes balance on boards and hold on to a large kite that is propelled across the water by the wind. If the wind is strong enough, participants can reach 74 kilometers per hour. Players can also impress the audience with high jumps and tricks.

The competition consists of several races over several days to determine who advances to the semifinal rounds. American Daniela Moroz, who has won several world titles, will likely challenge for the podium.

Story editing by Carren Jao. Editing by Robert Wickwire.

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