A new, youthful sport is coming to the Paris 2024 Olympics — while some other sports are falling by the wayside this year.
Breaking, aka breakdancing, will make its Olympic debut in Paris this summer, joined by three other recently added Olympic sports: surfing, skateboarding, and sport climbing.
Paris organizers have made it clear that they are aiming to appeal to younger fans by featuring sports that are “closely associated with youth and reward creativity and athletic performance,” according to the official Paris 2024 website.
Meanwhile, some other sports that were featured at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Games past, including baseball, softball and karate, will not make an appearance in Paris this year.
Here’s what to know about the sports coming and going from the Paris 2024 Summer Games.
Breaking will make its Olympic debut in Paris
The sport of breaking, or what’s more commonly known as break dancing, will make its Olympic debut in Paris this summer.
The Paris Games will include one men’s and one women’s event “where 16 B-Boys and 16 B-Girls will go face to face in spectacular solo battles,” according to the official Olympics website.
Athletes will improvise to a DJ’s beats using popular breaking movies including windmills, which involve spinning low to the ground, and freezes.
Breaking was introduced at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, but this is the first time the sport will feature on the main Olympic stage.
3 recently introduced Olympics sports will return: Surfing, skateboarding and climbing
The sports of surfing, skateboarding, and sport climbing — each of which made their Olympic debut at the Tokyo Games — will return for Paris 2024.
In Tokyo, American surfer Carissa Moore took home the first women’s gold for Olympic surfing, while Brazilian athlete Italo Ferreira won gold for the men.
The skateboarding competition in Paris will include two categories, as it did in Tokyo, park and street.
In park skateboarding, athletes perform tricks in a curved arena similar to what you might see in a skatepark, while in street skateboarding, athletes skate on a road-like course with obstacles such as stairs and handrails.
Four athletes took home gold medals for skateboarding in Tokyo: Australia’s Keegan Palmer (men’s park), Japan’s Yuto Horigome (men’s street), Japan’s Sakura Yosozumi (women’s park) and Japan’s Momiji Nishiya (women’s street).
Sport climbing, meanwhile, is similar to rock climbing and includes men’s and women’s categories. In Tokyo, Slovenia’s Janja Garnbret won gold for women’s combined sport climbing, while Spain’s Alberto Gines Lopez won the men’s gold.
Karate has been dropped as an Olympic sport
Karate made a historic Olympic debut at the Tokyo Games, but its inclusion was short-lived. The sport will not return for the Paris Olympics, to the confusion of some in the martial arts community.
“What has happened is not that karate has not been included — it has been excluded, which is not the same — on purpose,” Antonio Espinós, president of the World Karate Federation, told the sports website Inside the Games in 2021.
He also called the International Olympic Committee’s process for determining its lineups “opaque.”
“It is a very well-kept secret what are the considerations from the IOC when deciding the Olympic programme, but it should be open and transparent,” he said.
Baseball and softball are also out in 2024 — but they’ll be back.Baseball and softball will not be included in the Paris Olympics, after having made a return in Tokyo.
Baseball is a men’s-only sport at the Olympics, and has been officially featured six times at the Games since 1992. Prior to that, it had been included on-and-off as a demonstration sport at the Olympics since the early 1900s, according to the World Baseball Softball Confederation.
Softball, meanwhile, is a women’s-only sport at the Olympics, and has featured five times since 1996.
Why are baseball and softball out for Paris? The IOC has not shared publicly why these sports did not make the cut this time around.
In the past, Major League Baseball officials have expressed concerns around scheduling conflicts. The Summer Olympics fall during the middle of the MLB season, when the best players can't be spared.
In Tokyo, the top players on MLB rosters were barred from participating in the Olympics, and Japan also blocked its pro league players from participating, according to the AP.
However, baseball and softball aren’t gone from the Olympics for good; both will return for the Los Angeles 2028 Games.
“The WBSC firmly believes that baseball and softball will help millions of fans engage with the Olympic Games, especially with USA being home to many of the sports’ best players and biggest stars from across the world,” Riccardo Fraccari, president of the World Baseball Softball Confederation, said in a 2023 release.