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Vancouver man among top breakdancing competitors to watch at Paris Olympics

Philip Kim secured a spot for Paris when he came out on top at last year’s Pan American Games
FILE - Liu Qingyi of China, known as B-girl 671, competes against Ami Yuasa of Japan, known as B-girl Ami during the final event of the 2022 World Breaking Championship in Seoul, South Korea, Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022. Breakdancing will make its debut as an Olympic sport at the 2024 Paris Olympics. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man, File)

A roadmap to follow for the debut of breakdancing at the Paris Olympics:

Athletes to Watch

Victor Montalvo (B-boy Victor), United States: A breaker who describes himself as a student of old school b-boys from the founding era of hip-hop, the 30-year-old Montalvo, who is from Kissimmee, Florida, qualified for Paris by besting all other b-boys at the 2023 WDSF World Breaking Championship in Belgium.

Sunny Choi (B-girl Sunny), United States: The 35-year-old Choi, a cheerful Queens, New York-bred breaker, has long been an ambassador for b-girls globally. She qualified for the Paris Games with her win at the 2023 Pan American Games in Chile.

Philip Kim (B-boy Phil Wizard), Vancouver, Canada: Consistently ranked in the top three b-boys in the international breaking competitive community, Kim secured a spot for Paris when he came out on top at last year’s Pan American Games.

Dominika Banevič (B-girl Nicka), Lithuania: Banevič was the youngest in her category at last year’s WDSF World Breaking Championship, when she punched her ticket to Paris. Banevič turns 17 this month.

READ ALSO: Meet B.C.’s breakout breaking star B-Boy Phil Wizard

Storylines to Follow

While breaking and hip-hop both originated in The Bronx, New York, in the 1970s, the art forms have extended far beyond the U.S., highlighting themes of racial and economic inequality and subcultures around the world.

Breaking is being given a global stage this summer for the first time, and hip-hop’s global reach will be on display perhaps in a way that it never has before. While many fans are excited the genre is being recognized on a massive scale, others are skeptical of attempts to co-opt the culture, commercialize it further and impose a rigid competitive structure. The spirit of hip-hop and breaking has been rooted in local communities and centered around street battles and living a b-boy or b-girl lifestyle.

For the Paris Games, judges will score breakers using what’s known as the Trivium judging system. A panel of five judges scores each breaker on creativity, personality, technique, variety, performativity and musicality. However, this system has its critics, who say it has been too heavily influenced by people who don’t understand breaking as an essential element of hip-hop culture.

Key Dates

The women’s competition is on Aug. 9, and the men’s competition is Aug. 10.

Reigning Champions

Because this is breaking’s debut at the Summer Games, there are no reigning Olympic champions.

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The Associated Press