New prospective Olympic sports could affect BYU

Ari Davis
Jamaal Williams dances and plays catch with fans before the game against Arizona (Ari Davis)

The 2020 Olympics is set to feature three new sports on its program — competitive climbing, surfing and skateboarding — while the 2024 Olympics could add break dancing into its schedule.  Though an appearance from Tony Hawk or Alex Honnold may be a little far-fetched, there is a realistic possibility that BYU could feature more athletes participating in the events both on campus and in the Olympics.

Dancing has long been an area of interest at BYU. According to the BYU Department of Dance, over 4,000 students enroll in BYU ballroom classes each year, making BYU ballroom the largest university program of its kind.

Members of the BYU Latin team hold their trophy following their 2016 championship-winning performance in Blackpool, England. (Curt Holman)

For the 2024 olympics, all eyes point toward the Cougarettes when thinking about BYU breakdancing. The Cougarettes won double nationals in 2019, capturing gold in both the hip hop and jazz divisions. Prior to 2019, the all-girl dance squad had won 17 national titles, solidifying the program as one of the top in the world and creating a culture of winning.

For the first time in program history, the Cougarettes represented the United States at the ICU World Cheerleading championships, finishing second behind Japan. With these accolades on their respective resumes, Cougarette dancers could be looked at to represent the United States at the 2024 Olympics in the breakdancing event. It should be noted, however, that the breakdancing event will consist of 16 individual dancers from around the world, so the Cougarettes will not be able to participate as a team.

Rock climbing classes are offered through BYU though there is not an official team at the university. If you are looking to get into rock climbing while attending BYU, enrolling in a rock climbing class would be a good start, but you can also join the outdoor adventure club.

The BYU Cougarettes stand with their medals outside the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida. The dance team placed second at worlds after winning gold medals in both the hip-hop and jazz categories at nationals. (Jodi Maxfield)

Skateboarding and surfing classes are not offered through BYU, but there is a surf and skate club at the university. In the past, the club has run events that taught technical skills, and trips have been organized to go surfing at nearby sand dunes.

The four new events — rock climbing, break dancing, surfing and skateboarding — are still in the preliminary stages regarding their inclusion in the 2024 Olympics. As of June 25, an official proposal was passed in favor of including these events during the Olympics that will take place in Paris, France. The International Olympic Committee will make its final decision on these events in December of 2020. Due to this announcement, no other sports can be included in the 2024 Olympics.

Enrollment for sports tends to increase when the sports make headlines, especially Olympic headlines, so expect this same pattern to occur for these Olympic sports.

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