The World DanceSport Federation (WDSF) prepares for Breaking to make its first appearance on the sports programme of the Youth Olympic Games. In a collaborative effort between WDSF and the members of the professional breaking community worldwide, a revolutionary qualification system is put in place for Buenos Aires 2018
On 6 December 2016, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) enlisted WDSF with the task of organising three Breaking events at the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games (BAYOG).
Today, WDSF announces an innovative process of identifying the world’s best male and female breakers born in 2000, 2001 and 2002 – 12 of each gender. The Qualification System (below) is without precedent in Olympic sports, combining a global talent identification process on the digital field of play with the rigours of head-to-head qualifying battles at major breaking events held throughout the world.
In the first stage of qualifying for one of the 24 quota places the IOC has allocated to Breaking, each b-boy or b-girl will upload a one-minute, unedited breaking video of himself or herself to a dedicated online platform. Complying with basic rules that govern the format of the recording, registering themselves online – with parental consent in countries where it is required – and submitting documented proof that they were born between 1 January 2000 and 31 December 2002, the b-boys/girls will take part in what could best be described as a digital evaluation process.
Extending over three months, this first stage of qualifying is open to all breakers – no restrictions other than age! In the true spirit of “show and prove,” participation does not require any licence, affiliation to an organisation, or the sanctioning by a National Olympic Committee (NOC). The confidence in one’s abilities as a breaker, a video camera or a smartphone, plus access to the Internet, are all that is needed to take this first step towards Buenos Aires 2018.
All videos uploaded to the platform between 1 May and 31 July 2017 will be screened by moderators before being made available for public viewing. Another innovative element of the process is that members of the public at large are invited to express their opinions on and their preferences for a pre-determined number of submissions. A temporary standing per country and per gender will be established based on the views expressed by the public. To conclude the process, beginning on 1 August 2017, a panel of professional judges from the international breaking scene will step in and assess all submissions, identifying the top five b-boys and top five b-girls per country. The breakers selected by the judges will then be able to continue on their personal “Road to Buenos Aires” and enter stage two of the qualifying.
The second stage of qualifying starts in the fall of 2017 and should bring – physically, this time – around 200 dancers to each of the three established events that have been selected based on location and, above all, on international reputation. The continental qualifier for the Americas is to be held in early October concurrent with the Silverback Open in Philadelphia, USA. The one for Africa and Europe takes place in Essen, GER, as part of the Battle of the Year (BOTY) towards the end of October. Finally, the one for Asia and Oceania is scheduled in early December in Taipei, TPE, embedded into Taipei Bboy City.
The events hosting these BAYOG qualifiers have distinguished themselves as premier competitions in their own right. BOTY, for instance, was first held back in 1990 and has attained what can only be described as cult status by now. The Silverback Open is one of two flagship events of the Urban Dance & Educational Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation which brought structure to the breaking scene through the introduction of the Pro Breaking Tour. Taipei Bboy City has recently joined events in Japan and Korea in establishing a reputation of organising excellence in Asia.
Battling their way through the brackets at each of the three qualifiers, the top 20 b-boys and the top 10 b-girls – with a maximum of three boys and two girls representing the same NOC – will then be able to take the last and decisive step towards the BAYOG.
A total of 60 b-boys and 30-b-girls will join their peers from Argentina and from the countries that are assigned the two Universality Places for the final stage of qualifying at the 2018 WDSF World Breaking Championship for their age group in Japan. Scheduled
during the month of May at a venue that is still to be determined in either Tokyo or Kanagawa Prefecture, this championship decides over who will get the 24 quota places as they are defined in the IOC-approved document
Qualification System – Breaking.
WDSF has gone to great length in ensuring that breaking at the Youth Olympic Games is supported not only by its own structure, i.e. its National Member Bodies as well as its current and former Associate Members, but also by the entire community revolving
around a dance which is artistic, athletic and competitive – all at once. WDSF actively sought out the expertise of scores of eminent people throughout the breaking world to collaborate with them in delivering the Buenos Aires 2018 Breaking events to the highest
Management Project - Breaking