SANTIAGO: Canadian B-Boy breaker Phil Wizard (Philip Kim) won a gold medal and a ticket to the Paris Olympics on Saturday by taking the top spot on the podium in the first break dancing competition of the Pan American Games.
B-Girl Sunny (Grace Choi) will also travel to Paris after the American won the women’s gold medal on a historic day for a sport with an uncertain future.
The addition of break dancing to the Paris Olympic program has raised eyebrows among traditionalists, but its status as an official sport may be short-lived after being sidelined for inclusion at the 2028 Los Angeles Summer Games.
With the possibility of break dancing becoming a unique Olympic sport, the Pan American Games have taken on greater significance with gold medalists securing a coveted quota spot and a chance to perhaps make history as one and only Olympic champion of this sport. .
“Honestly, the Olympic place means more to me, I want to be there, I want to be part of history,” Kim said, after adding Pan American Games gold to his 2022 world champion title. To be completely honest, I had already secured my place because Victor (Montalvo) from the United States had already won the world championships, so two Americans cannot get a direct quota in the break.
“Before the final I had already secured my place, but this gave me even more motivation because it would have been bittersweet to guarantee my place and lose the battle.”
Known for his creativity, Kim blended artistry and athleticism in his gold medal battle against American B-Boy Jeffro (Jeffrey Lewis), earning a perfect 3-0 score from all nine judges.
“My goal has always been to respect myself,” said the 26-year-old Canadian. “The way I approach breaking is always originality and creativity first because that’s exactly what I love to do and I think I showcased that today.”
A thunderous, wall-slamming beat provided the soundtrack to the fights fought on a stage that was a cross between a disco dance floor and a mixed martial arts octagon.
The fights, while intense, never crossed the line, even though the thugs exchanged threatening gestures and downcast glances that all sent the same message, “beat that.”
The competition took place in one of the less glamorous corners of the Chilean capital, in a cultural center accessible via graffiti-lined avenues that gave a nod to the street’s roots.
Born from the hip-hop culture of the early 1970s, break dancing came to life on the streets of New York and grew its global presence with B-Boys from 10 countries and B-Girls from nine countries competing for the first Pan American gold medal.
“To me, being a part of history really means the world,” Kim said. “Of course I want to win, but it’s all about showing my talent to the world.
“I want more people to see this because this is what I spent my year doing.”