Sports in the 2024 Paris Olympics: Breaking

7 Sports You Probably Didn’t Know Were Part Of The Olympics

Sometimes, the most niche and underrated sports can be some of the most exciting ones to watch.

Although the Olympics is arguably the most distinguished multi-sport competition in the world — its prestige is given all the more weight by the fact that it is held only every four years — certain sports are more mainstream than others. Basketball, swimming, track-and-field, and gymnastics, for instance, are some of the Olympic events that garner more viewers than others.

Because of this, there’s a good chance that you’ve been sleeping on some of the other equally exciting events. Here are seven sports, some new and some old, that you may not have known were a part of the Olympics.

1. Trampoline
Sports in the 2024 Paris Olympics: Trampoline
Much like gymnastics, trampoline involves a lot of tricks, maneuvers, and skills. (Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

If you grew up with a trampoline in your backyard, you may have missed your calling to become an Olympic athlete.

Trampolining made its Olympic debut in 2000 and it has become widely regarded as one of the most challenging sports in the entire event. Athletes bounce over eight meters, and in mid-air, perform a series of complex turns, twists, and somersaults. Judges then score the athletes’ routines depending on their difficulty and execution, as well as the time they spend in the air, making it way more technical than you might think.

2. Breaking
Sports in the 2024 Paris Olympics: Breaking
Breaking is a new Olympic sport that is making its debut in Paris 2024. (Photo credit: Paris 2024)

If you’re surprised to discover that breaking, which is just a shorter term for ‘breakdancing’, is a sport in the Olympics, it’s because the 2024 edition will be the first time it is introduced as part of the event.

Breaking refers to a popular dance style that emerged from hip-hop culture in the United States, and it requires a high level of athletic skill. Breakdancers make use of acrobatic movements and complex footwork, all while following a particular rhythm. In the 2024 Olympics, the breaking competition will include what you might know as a ‘dance-off’, where the athletes will go face to face in solo dance battles, and from here, judges will score their movements and crown a winner for the first time in Olympic history.

If you’re a fan of Step Up or Footloose, this might be the Olympic sport for you.

3. Sport Climbing
Sport Climbing
Sport climbing is one of the new sports introduced in Paris 2024. (Photo credit: Paris 2024)

You probably know someone who spends their weekends rock climbing or bouldering, especially as this has grown in popularity as a recreational sport in recent years.

The sport climbing event is basically a modern version of rock climbing and will include three different disciplines. The first is the boulder event, where athletes have to climb a 4.5-meter wall without ropes in a limited amount of time; secondly, we have the speed event, where athletes race one-on-one in a series of elimination rounds; and finally, there is the lead event, where athletes have to climb as high as they can in a limited amount of time without having seen the wall beforehand.

While this is very physically demanding, it is also very much a mental game, making it very engaging to watch.

4. Surfing
Surfing in the Olympics
Surfing in the Olympics. (Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

As the Olympics is also known as the Summer Games, not many other sports scream summer the way that surfing does.

In the surfing event, athletes will need to, of course, ride waves, and while doing so, perform a series of complex tricks. A panel of five judges will be scoring each surfer based on the difficulty and execution of all the tricks, as well as the speed and power by which they are performed.

This sport is definitely one of the most unique Olympic events because athletes are at the mercy of the natural elements, making every performance unpredictable, yet all the more impressive.

6. Skateboarding
Margielyn Didal Skateboarding Tokyo 2020
Filipino skateboarder Margielyn Didal in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. (Photo credit: Margielyn Didal on Instagram)

Skateboarding is a very youthful activity. Surely, many people feel a sense of nostalgia every time they come across a skate park, thinking about the days they spent with their friends trying out new tricks and laughing about funny falls. But the Olympics has turned this summer hobby into a thrilling competition.

In the Olympics, skaters will perform a series of tricks which will be judged based on their complexity and speed. The Olympics includes two disciplines: the street event, where athletes perform on street-like courses that include obstacles such as stairs, and the park event, where athletes are mainly judged on the tricks they perform mid-air.

Every trick in skateboarding is enthralling to watch, even if you don’t know the technicalities of the sport.

7. Dressage
Equestrian Dressage: Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro at London 2012
Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro at the London 2012 Olympic Dressage. (Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Equestrian events are not new to the Olympics. In fact, they are among the most traditional sports in the world. The jumping discipline is arguably the most popular, as many people have seen horses jumping over obstacles before. But the other discipline is even more complex: dressage.

Dressage is considered to be the most advanced form of horse training. In this event the rider and horse perform in a dance-like manner, executing a series of artistic movements while following the rhythm and tune of music. Judges then judge these performances depending on the fluidity and smoothness of the routines.

It’s incredibly entertaining to watch a horse dance and to try and figure out what exactly a judge is looking for. In 2024, tune into the dressage event and be the judge yourself — which horse has the best moves?

Banner images from Ilja Tulit on Unsplash and Wikimedia Commons.

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