Updated: Dec 18, 2020
With Breaking getting 'Provisional Approval' for 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, making it one step closer to official approval, there is a lot of speculation and questions, like:
-What are the events that the World DanceSport Federation (WDSF) are putting on?
-Who can qualify for the Olympics and how?
-Are coaches needed?
Instead of guessing at these answers I thought it was time to contact the WDSF to gain the correct information to these very important, technical questions. The WDSF were extremely helpful and willing to answers the questions that I had.
It is important to note that none of the questions below are specific to any particular country, they are based on the overall, worldwide process of Breakers and Breaking qualifying for the 2024 Olympic games. For individual country matters, as some answers refer to, people will have to contact their country's WDSF, or National Olympic Committee (NOC) to get specific answers relevant to their country. I have given a little basic explanation after some of the answers to try and makes certain points very clear and simple, and to add in a bit of my own research. My explanations are highlighted in Red.
I hope that this information helps to better inform those interested in the process of Breaking getting into the Olympics.
Here are the questions I asked and the answers that the WDSF provided:
1) What does 'Provisional Approval' mean?
The road for Breaking to get onto the Olympic Programme in Paris 2024 has followed a decision-making process with several steps: following the outstanding success of Breaking at the Youth Olympic Games last October in Buenos Aires, the initial proposal by the Paris 2024 Organising Committee to include Breaking in their edition of the Games was made in February this year. This proposal was then analysed positively by the International Olympic Committee's (IOC’s) Olympic Programme Commission. In March, the IOC Executive Board gave its green light to the proposal, which was then put to a vote by the IOC Session on 25 June.
However, the very final decision on the inclusion of Breaking (as well as the other three additional sports) at Paris 2024 will only be taken after the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, in December 2020. In the meantime, the IOC will have a monitoring programme in place that will look at the performance, management, governance and integrity of each of the four sports. Having said that, WDSF assumes that the IOC Session’s vote was the most critical step in the process.
-Please take Note that the Final Decision is in December 2020.
And, from what I've read, the 'Provisional Approval' qualifies Breaking to get funding as a sport that might become a part of the Olympic Games. But I only found this in one article on when Cheer leading was provisionally approved.
Article Link: https://people.com/sports/cheerleading-olympic-sport/
2) Do/Will Breaking Athlete's need an official coach to enter WDSF events?
No, having an official coach is not a requirement in order to enter a WDSF event.
To our knowledge and at their level, the majority of world’s best b-boys and b-girls have coaches or mentors.
3) Will Breaking Athlete's need an official coach if they qualify for the Olympic Games? No, having an official dedicated coach is not a requirement to participate at the Olympic Games. However, the qualification of each athlete will have to be ratified by their National Olympic Committee (NOC). The NOCs are the entities that have the final say on the qualification of an athlete. Each NOC has different criteria it applies to validate the qualification of their athletes to participate in the Olympic Games and the different persons being part of the athletes’ entourage (coach, doctors, etc).
LINK TO NOCS: https://www.olympic.org/national-olympic-committees
-Basically, EVERY Breaker has to be approved by their country's Olympic Committee- this means that even if you are the best in the world if your country decides not to send anyone for Breaking to the Olympic Games then you cannot go.
I believe this is what happened to the American Youths for the Youth Olympics, as there was a cap of only 75 athletes per country, and the US Olympic Committee decided not to send any Breakers to the Games: http://www.thebboyspot.com/no-u-s-breakers-to-be-included-in-2018-youth-olympic-games
4) What are the events at which more WDSF qualifications/rankings setting events, will take place?
With five years to go to the Olympic Games in Paris 2024 and the final decision of Breaking to be included pending only in December 2020, this is too early to say.
-As Far as I know there was the event in China and the next one scheduled is in Budapest, at the WORLD URBAN GAMES , on September 13th - 15th, for which the top ranked 12 B-Boys and 12 B-Girls qualified for from China.
OUTBREAK will also be a qualifier for Budapest, with the top ranked 3 B-Boys and 3 B-Girls qualifying. But they can't be from countries already represented at the event.
The Host Country automatically gets a spot for 1 B-Boy and 1 B-Girl, making the event 16 B-Boys and 16 B-Girls.
All this Information is on the Breaking for Gold Website: https://www.breakingforgold.com/wug2019/pages/qualification
These initial events seem to be for the WDSF to start to make a relationship with the Breaking scene and get Breakers involved in events with them in the run up to the final decision. They also show that the WDSF are making a solid effort to get Breaking ready for the 2024 Games, and should boost the chances of Breaking getting into the Olympics.
5) Will the rankings determine who will enter the Olympics, or can the WDSF's in each country do separate qualifications for that specific country?
As things stand at the moment, it is anticipated to see the best 16 b-boys and b-girls compete in Paris 2024. The WDSF will submit a proposal for a qualification system to the IOC which will have to ratify it. Usually, the qualification path to the Olympic Games starts at about 24 months prior to the Games.
So the rankings system happening now is not established as the final way to qualify for the 2024 Olympics, if we are officially added to the Game. 24 months is two years before the Olympics Games, so 2022. Meaning that we are a long way off from actual qualification events. Plus, ONLY 16 B-Boys and 16 B-Girls, means that not every country can be represented if we make it into the Olympics.
6) Will Breakers be required to register as an official Olympic candidate with their country, or will this all be done through the WDSF event participation?
The WDSF will lead the qualification process and once qualified, the athletes will have to be selected by their National Olympic Committee (NOC) to represent their country at the Olympic Games.
-Again, even qualification under the WDSF will not guarantee you a place in the Olympic Games. The final decision goes to your NOC.
7) Will Breaking Athletes have to go through a procedure of registering with their country's WDSF?
It is standard procedure that once qualified through the International Federation process, the athletes are picked by their NOC to join their delegation and represent their country.
In addition, each athlete will need to be a valid holder of a licence in order to ensure compliance with the WADA code (World Anti-Doping Agency Code) and the WDSF rules and regulations. Licences are processed by WDSF’s national member bodies.
LINK TO WADA CODE: https://www.wada-ama.org/en/resources/the-code/world-anti-doping-code
-I.E. Winning qualifications will not solely be enough, you must pass Anti-doping and get a licence.
8) Can the WDSF help a qualified Breaker in the procedure to be chosen to represent their country by their NOC?
As per standard procedure, this will not be necessary. WDSF would oversee the Olympic competitions, whilst the NOC will oversee their delegation of which the Breaking athlete will be part.
9) Will there be official funding for Olympic qualified Breaking Athlete's or is this an individual country matter?
It’s too early in the process to say this, but for the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires last year, several of the participating b-boys and b-girls benefited from funding by Olympic Solidarity and also from some of WDSF’s national member bodies.
FUNDING LINK: https://www.olympic.org/olympic-solidarity
10) Is there any restrictions a Breaking Athlete might face when it comes to wanting to qualify for the WDSF events, and the Olympics? (E.g. Age, number of years as a Breaker)
Each of the athletes aiming to qualify for Paris 2024 will need to be affiliated to a national member body of WDSF. This affiliation will come with a licence in order to ensure compliance with the WADA code and the WDSF rules and regulations. A minimum age is likely to be set as it is done in other sports, but it’s too early in the process to fix details.
11) Is there a basic rundown of how the WDSF Ranking system works?
WDSF does not have a ranking system for Breaking and different formats exist for different types of events. No specific system has been set yet for Paris 2024 as it is too early in the process. However, you may want to check out the rundown WDSF used for last month’s Breaking World Championship in Nanjing:
12) When and how will the final choice of WDSF Olympic qualified Breaking Athlete's take place?
It is too early in the process to determine this.
13) Does a WDSF Breaking Athlete have to represent the country they are officially under on their passport?
Yes, normally this is the case. However, it is difficult to generalise as some athletes may be holders of several passports or some of them may apply for change of nationality.
Thanks to the WDSF Media team for freely providing this information to help clarify the questions asked. Please let me know if something isn't clear.
The Vivid Scribe
B-Boy Manny (Soul Mavericks crew)