On Monday 7 December 2020, the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) confirmed four "additional" sports for the program of the Paris 2024 Olympics. Breaking, climbing, skateboarding and surfing! All of them are young and urban, but the only true newcomer is breaking.
"Young, urban and revolutionary" is how the Paris 2024 Organizing Committee describes the quartet that it added to a lineup of 28 decidedly more traditional sports. Climbing, skateboarding and surfing will actually premiere next year in the Tokyo Games. The real novelty for 2024 will indeed be breaking.
It is by no means that the Olympic movement is first to discover the appeal of these sports. All of them feature prominently in other high-profile multi-sport events: the X-Games, which had their inaugural edition in 1995, being just one of them. And all four, without exception, are frequently associated with the energy drink Red Bull.
What is there to be learned from the recent history of these sports? In the case of breaking, it could well be the fact that the most important international competition – by far – in a calendar that goes beyond national, continental and world championships is a proprietary Red Bull series of events: Red Bull BC One. Ever since 2004! The 2020 edition of the series had close to 1,000 b-boys and b-girls from around the world contest the title in e-battles and a world final held in Salzburg, Austria.
Just to remind everyone: skydiving was part of the X-Games in the late 1990s, two of the most prolific indoor skydiving athletes are on the Red Bull roster for 2020 – Maja from Poland and Kyra from Singapore – and artistic skydiving has its first ever virtual contest in progress at this very moment ... Sky on Stage. At the very least, that's a good point of departure.