The bouldering and the beautiful

Future Olympic Games will see the introduction of several new additions to the competition, including sport climbing and potentially breaking (the more correct term for break dancing).

In early August the International Olympic Committee convened in Rio de Janeiro and officially announced sport climbing, surfing and skateboarding would be making their debuts as Olympic sports at Tokyo 2020.

Australian Olympic Committee head of public affairs and communication Strath Gordon said the decision was aimed at keeping the Games relevant.

“The IOC has really had a focus in recent years around keeping the Olympic Games relevant to younger generations and new generations, so they’ve been constantly evaluating different sports that could come into the Olympic Games,” he said.

“[Audiences will] therefore take a greater interest in what the Olympic movement is all about and equally the broader context of why sport is a good thing in society.”

These three sports have been provisionally added to the 2024 program as well, and will be under observation and analysis until a final decision is made.

Also in the lineup for the possibility of featuring in the Paris 2024 Games is breaking.

Curtin University researcher and B-boy Lucas Marie. Photos: Facebook/Lucas Marie.

Well-known Perth ‘B-boy’ and breaking teacher Brendan Burns said having the sport at the Olympics would allow breakers to make a living and increase the exposure of breaking.

“There is an art form to it,” he said.

“Everybody has their own unique approach to it, in fact that’s probably the best thing about it, that everybody has their own unique abilities and unique ideas and influences.”

“Basically the style is influenced by the culture and as you can see in Australia we’re quite affluent… so our style actually reflects that in the fact that we’re quite playful, we’re quite relaxed, we’re usually not aggressive… we’re more on the chill side where we just like to have fun.”

Burns said the initial push for Olympic inclusion came from ballroom dance groups, that were aiming to use breaking as a foot in the door for more dance sports at Olympic level.

He said he believes audiences will have to educate themselves a bit on the sport to appreciate it properly, but when they do it will be very popular.

“When people start to really understand what’s happening it’ll be, I guarantee… it’ll be really, really big,” he said.

Breaking and sport climbing were both also included in the Youth Olympic Games for the first time in Buenos Aires in 2018.

Chris Chin is the owner of bouldering and climbing gym Adrenaline Vault in Belmont.

He said bouldering and other forms of sport climbing have taken off in popularity, with many new gyms opening in Perth in the last couple of years, and he was excited to see it progress to a higher level.

“It’s good for people that wanna take the sport seriously and actually have a goal to achieve something,” he said.

“Within 8 to 12 years, for the next two or three Olympics, I think [Australia] will be a good contender.”

Learn more about bouldering and sport climbing with Chris Chin. Video: Isabella Clarke.