Ready, set – dance!

Posted: December 14, 2020 in Uncategorized

According to He Who Knows All, Peter FitzSimons, we aren’t fussed about the Olympics admitting breakdancing as a new event. Really? In fact, every person I have asked about it agrees with me – that it is a ridiculous thing. And meanwhile, established sport is still overlooked for an Olympic berth.

Let me make something quite clear. I do not have a problem with breakdancing itself. Does it require skill? Yes. Can it be competitive? Yes. Could I do it? No. But playing classic piano in an eisteddfod also fits those qualifiers. But we aren’t about to see the 200 metre grand piano Für Elise dash as a prelude to the sprint finals.

The Olympic Games are about sporting events. They stem from the original Greek Olympiads which were about competition in martial events such as boxing, running, jumping, and hurling things such as a discus or a javelin. Until in 393 A.D. when the Roman Emperor Theodosius I banned them as terrible, pagan, unChristian things.

When the Olympic Games were restarted as a serious international competition in 1896, they featured most of the traditional events, albeit clothed, unlike the old Greeks, who liked to run around in the nuddie while proving their manhood. There was a period in the earlyish twentieth century when some decidedly unsporting things were given awards, including, believe it not, and I am indebted to FitzSimons for sharing this tidbit, a medal awarded for town planning. But those nonsense, non-sporting things did not last long.

What is breakdancing? It is a type of dancing that became a street thing. Vigorous. Impressive. With the rise of videos accompanying popular music, by the early 1980s it was quite common to see youngsters with their sheet of cardboard that they used to breakdance on. There are stories of gangs in the US settling differences by breakdancing competitions. Who said the fight scene in West Side Story, with the dancing, fighting gangs, was silly? However, I suspect it did not take long before said gangs returned to beating the proverbial out of each other rather than dancing.

As happens with most things that enjoy a period of fad popularity, it largely disappeared outside of particular dance interests. Because it is a form of dance.

Are we going to introduce ballet to the Olympics? The waltz? How about team Tango? Let’s not just stop with dancing. We could have Rhetoric Discussion of Issues of the Day. Speed Watercolour Landscape Painting. The Ladies Poetical Composition While Being Carried By Lord Byron Lookalikes – points being awarded for both the composition and the how much like Byron the carriers are.

Let us resume sensibility for a bit. While the International Olympics Committee are hell bent on introducing a dance competition as part of the Games, how about well-established sport that cannot get a berth? Like squash.

For some unfathomable reason, the IOC flatly refuse to allow squash to be part of the Games. Squash has international organisation and has been part of World Games for years. It is formally recognised as a sport in something like 186 countries. It is fast moving and very competitive. In short, it meets the qualifications of sport. Tennis is in. Badminton has been an Olympic event since 1992. Table tennis has been part of things since 1988. But squash? No way, José.

The IOC flatly refuse to countenance squash as a sporting event in the games. There is room for breakdancing, but not squash.

Surely this is one of the dumbest moves by the IOC since, well, ever.

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