Breaking is an Olympic sport for the first time. Here’s how the competition format in Paris will look.

How does Olympic breaking work?

16 men and 16 women (called "B-Boys" and "B-Girls") will compete at the Paris Games.

The women’s competition takes place on Aug. 9, while the men will battle on Aug. 10. Each event consists of a round robin followed by quarterfinals, semifinals and medal battles.

Each battle, also called a throw down, features a best-of-three, one-on-one contest of approximately one minute. When one breaker finishes their round, their opponent instantly begins their routine in a battle format. Each breaker is judged individually by a panel of judges on six criteria (creativity, personality, technique, variety, performativity and musicality). The breaker with the highest score moves on.

How do you qualify for Olympic breaking?

There are many ways for breakers to qualify for the Paris Olympics.

First, the winning b-girl and b-boy at the 2023 WDSF World Breaking Championship directly qualified. This clinched Olympic spots for Lithuania’s Dominika Banevic (B-Girl Nicka) and Victor Montalvo (B-Boy Victor) of the U.S.

Next, The five winning b-girls and five winning b-boys at each of the Continental Games qualifies. Or, in a region with no Continental Games, the winners of the corresponding Continental Championships also qualify for Paris 2024.

The final 14 Olympic spots (seven for b-boys and seven for b-girls) are secured at the Olympic Qualifier Series (OQS), which takes place in May and June.

Breaking joins BMX, skateboarding and sport climbing at the OQS, which will make two stops: Shanghai from May 16-19 and Budapest from June 20-23.

80 breakers will compete, with the top 14 earning their way into the Paris Olympics for the inaugural breaking event.

What are the different types of breaking?

There are a few basic elements that form what we know as breaking: top rock, down rock and freeze.

Moves performed while standing up, with a heavy emphasis on footwork, are known as top rock, while down rock refers to moves on the floor. These include spins, footwork and power moves.

Power moves are a crucial component of breaking, during which athletes spin their bodies using their hands, elbows, back, head or shoulders for support. These require massive amounts of balance and strength.

The freeze is when the breaker comes to a stop in a funky position, often hoisting themselves up with their hands or head, at a break in the music.