Australia's Paris Olympics president reveals the incredibly eccentric referees in the Games' newest and most controversial sport

By Josh Alston for Daily Mail Australia

02:48 09 January 2024, Updated 02:48 09 January 2024

  • Four new sports have been added to the Paris Olympics
  • One of these new games has a humorous new rule for referees
  • Aussie medal hopes believe it will benefit the sport

One of the new events at the Paris Olympics will include a more unusual set of criteria for the judges: before they begin giving their scores, they must dance on the floor to demonstrate their understanding of the game.

Breaking, sport climbing, skateboarding and surfing are new sports added to the Paris 2024 menu, with breaking – AKA breakdancing – considered one of the more unusual newcomers.

Beat competitive dances like ballroom and Latin to earn her spot in Paris after competing in the 2018 Youth Olympics.

It was a controversial call that prompted Aussie squash great Michelle Martin to say the Games had become a 'mockery' as her sport was not selected.

It has now been revealed that referees will have to show off their own breaking moves to prove they understand the new Olympic sport, which Australian Olympic team chef de mission Anna Meares has found hilarious.

Competitors aren't the only ones hitting the dance floor during the breaking competition at the Paris Olympics – the judges have to prove themselves well.
Rachel 'Raekun' Gunn is Australia's leading medal hope and hopes the judges prove themselves in breaking them down will help the competitors

'To be a judge, you really have to break out on the dance floor before the competition starts,' Meeres said.

'Must have dancing skills. Mind you, the judges also have to break down some of the moves.

Another big difference is how the judges interact with the contestants.

The breaking community is tight-knit and many of them are lifelong friends, which has led to judges being banned from talking to contestants during previous events.

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'I was in Madrid this weekend for a competition and saw dancers I've known for over 20 years. However, I was unable to contact them until after the competition proceedings,'' said World Dance Federation certified judge Michael Walker.

Another new element is the fusion of creativity and strict rules that should be added to the sport in the Olympics.

This element called into question the inclusion of breaking at the Paris Games, as head-to-head dance battles were previously judged solely on creativity.

At the 2018 Youth Olympics, referees had the opportunity to use the Olympic rules and measurements for the sport.

It had a trial run at the 2018 Youth Olympics, where there were five judges It judges contestants on six criteria: creativity, personality, technique, variety, performance and musicality.

The scoring system assigned different weights to each, with technique, performance and creativity accounting for 60 percent of the total score, while variety, musicality and personality contributed the remaining 40 percent.

After each round, the judges submitted their votes, and the participant with the most points was declared the winner.

Walker expressed confidence that the crackdown would be successful even if the rules were applied.

I think these two worlds can be compatible. „We have our own non-Olympic venues and the rules are set there by the community around them,” he said.

'But for dancers who want to pursue it as a career as an athlete, there is room for that as well.'

Michael Walker, a World Dance Federation-certified judge, believes that the creative and expressive elements of breaking can be combined with the strict rules of the Olympics.
Walker pioneered breaking and had an exhibition at the Athens Games in '04.

Australia's leading breakout medal hopeful Rachael 'Raygun' Gunn has praised the decision to get the judges on the dance floor.

„It helps in a way because you see their particular talent, their attitude,” he said.

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'There are many different approaches to breaking; You can actually specialize in footwork or you can specialize in power or you can specialize in style, so it's good to understand who the judges are and what the main thing that comes out in the different categories or group.

Sometimes it helps you understand what they're looking for, but sometimes it doesn't.'

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