Break it down: New sports at the Paris 2024 Olympics

The Paris 2024 Olympics will spotlight several new sports: breaking, skateboarding, sport climbing, and surfing. Let’s dive into what you need to know about each event.

A close up of the gold, silver, and bronze medals that will be used at the Paris 2024 Olympics; the say "Paris 2024" in the middle and include an engraving of the Olympic torch and Olympic rings.

These are the medals of the Paris 2024 Olympics — so shiny + pretty.

Photo via Thomas Deschamps + Paris 2024 Pressroom

The Paris 2024 Olympics will feature several new + newish sports: breaking, skateboarding, sport climbing, surfing, and 3x3 basketball. Let’s explore what you need to know about these new events and their rules.

Ah, we can just picture that Olympics podium and those shiny medals now.

Breaking

Breaking (aka breakdancing) is making its Olympic debut after a resounding success in the 2018 Summer Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Rooted in hip-hop culture, breaking originated in the US and dates back to the 1970s.

In Paris, the sport will be split up into separate events for men and women (but the judging criteria will be the same). Here’s what to know:

  • The three main elements are top rock, down rock, and freeze. Check out how each of these moves are performed.
  • Athletes (aka breakers) compete in a 1x1 format (which is why a competition is often called a “battle”). The breakers take alternate turns or “throw-downs” performing their routines. Each throw-down can last up to 60 seconds.
  • The breakers’ throw-downs will be judged on personality, technique, creativity, variety, performativity, and musicality.

Breaking battles will take place on Friday, Aug. 9 and Saturday, Aug. 10 at La Concorde in the heart of Paris.

Skateboarding

Stoked about skateboarding at the Summer Olympics? Us too. This sport is newish to the Games — it debuted at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, and it seems it’s here to stick. The world’s greatest skateboarders — including many from California repping Team USA (we see you, Bryce Wettstein + Nyjah Huston) — will compete in two disciplines across preliminary and final events: park + street skating.

Park goes down on a course featuring bends + bowls, and Olympians gather speed to get that sweet air. What to know:

  • Athletes will perform three, 45-second runs.
  • Skaters will be judged by the height and speed of their tricks.
  • Their best score of their three runs will be counted as their final round score.

Street takes place on a straight course that mimics a street with stairs, handrails, and other bells + whistles to make it look like the streets where skateboarding first began. What to know:

  • Olympians will perform two, 45-second runs and five tricks during each run.
  • They’ll be judged on their tricks and how well they control their boards.

Skateboarding events will take place at La Concorde beginning Saturday, July 27.

The colorful Olympic rings stand outside the tan and brown exterior of Place de l'Hotel-de-Ville in Paris, France.

The Olympic Rings standing proudly at Place de l’Hotel-de-Ville in April 2023.

Photo via Monica Garske, 6AM City

Sport Climbing

This new Olympic sport is going to rock your world. Similar to skateboarding, sport climbing made its Olympic debut at the Tokyo Games, it’s also here for the long haul. Before you gather your pom poms to cheer on the climbers of Team USA, here’s everything you need to know about sport climbing.

This sport is hosted in three formats: bouldering, speed climbing, and lead climbing.

Bouldering

  • Athletes will try to reach the top of a ~15-ft wall via a route or “bouldering problem” in as few attempts as possible in a given period of time.
  • Climbers are scored + subsequently ranked based on how many boulders they top, zone holds they reach, and number of attempts. If a climber reaches the top of the boulder during their first attempt, this is considered a “flash” and guarantees them the maximum score for that boulder problem.

Speed

  • Athletes will attempt to scale a 49-ft wall as quickly as possible.
  • Results are based on time, and athletes climb in pairs. The speed walls have two lanes that climbers scale simultaneously, beginning at the sound of a buzzer. At the top of each lane, athletes must hit the contact point that stops their clock.
  • In seedling rounds, athletes are ranked by their times. During elimination rounds, athletes compete head-to-head.

Lead

  • Athletes will attempt to scale a 49-ft wall. They are given one attempt and a six-minute time limit. They’re also are given six minutes prior to their climbing attempt to study the wall.
  • As climbers ascend the wall, they must clip the rope that is attached to their harness into quickdraws.
  • Each lead route includes a minimum of 40 holds + only the highest 40 are assigned point values. If a climber reaches the top hold, they will receive 100 points.

Sport climbing events will take place at Le Bourget between Monday. Aug. 5 and Saturday, Aug. 10.

Psst — are you wondering what equipment is used to keep climbers safe? Check out this guide.

A light blue and dark blue rash guard top that will be used as the official uniform of Olympians competing at the Paris 2024 Olympics. It has short sleeves, pink trim on the sleeves and collar, and a flower-like design on the dark blue portion along the sides.

A photo of the uniforms that Olympians will wear while competing in surfing at the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics.

Surfing

We’re amped for this one, too. Surfing debuted at the Tokyo Games and is back to catch more waves at the Paris 2024 Olympics. Here’s the break(down):

  • Olympians will compete on shortboards — a faster, maneuverable board perfect for pros to show off their gnarly skills.
  • Olympians will perform tricks and five judges will score them based on the variety, type, and difficulty of their those tricks — think speed, power + flow.
  • The athletes will compete across several rounds, then quarterfinals, semifinals, and medal matches.
  • Team USA’s surfing team features five athletes vying for gold.

Surfing events will take place at the iconic surfing spot Teahupo’o in Tahiti — 9,000+ miles away from Paris — beginning Saturday, July 27.

3x3 Basketball

This sport also debuted at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics — although, there have been several iterations of the event at Youth Olympic Games over the years.

The Olympic sport takes inspiration from urban street basketball. Here’s how the Olympians will ball in Paris:

  • 3x3 Basketball is played on one-half of a basketball court; there are two teams, each with three players. They attack + defend the same hoop.
  • The first team to reach 21 points or the highest score in 10 minutes wins.
  • Teams will compete in several men’s + women’s pool rounds, followed by play-in games, semifinals, and medal matches.
  • Team USA’s men’s 3x3 Basketball roster features Jimmer Fredette, Canyon Barry, Kareem Maddox, and Dylan Travis.
  • Team USA’s women’s 3x3 Basketball roster features Cameron Brink, Cierra Burdick, Rhyne Howard, and Hailey Van Lith.

3x3 Basketball events will be played at La Concorde with games beginning Tuesday, July 30.

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