If You Can Make It There ...
Breaking returns to the pages of the New York Times for the third time after it was selected as an additional sport by the organizers of the Paris 2024 Olympics earlier this year .
2018 Youth Olympic Champion Sergey Chernyshev jr. is the focus of a lengthy article on breaking in the 19 August 2019 edition of the New York Times. The young and extremely talented dancer makes for an excellent story from all angles. As Andrew Keh, NYT sports correspondent for Europe, put it on Twitter: "With breaking all but confirmed for the 2024 Olympics, I went to Voronezh, Russia, to meet a teenage dancer named Sergey Chernyshev, a.k.a. Bumblebee, whose family's story in many ways traces the global arc of breaking over the last 20 years."
That a dance style everyone expected to have a limited shelf life has maintained its topicality over four decades is one of the observations Keh is making: "His dad learned about hip-hop and breaking in the mid-90s by watching bootleg VHS tapes from abroad ... Now there are young kids at the family's dance studio in Russia dreaming of Olympic medals."
Living in Berlin, Germany, Keh has easy access to some of the other key people who were involved in the breaking events of the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games: Chief Judge Niels Robitzky, 50, who is probably better known under his moniker B-Boy Storm. He is quoted saying that the Olympics “need breaking more than we need the Olympics,” but he has overcome the hubris attack in the next sentences. "If you look at the Olympic ideal, that’s what it’s all about. And with us, with our hip hop philosophy, it fits perfectly into that.”
Yes, there is a certain ambivalence in the communities of some of these new Olympic sports - breaking, climbing, skateboarding and surfing - and there is genuine concern that participation in the Games could alter their cultures, but there are medals to be won as soon as in Tokyo 2020.
Read the NYT article.