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Breakdancing, 3 other events step closer to 2024 Olympics

LAUSANNE, Switzerland — Breakdancing and three other sports have made the next move toward becoming medal events at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

The International Olympic Committee’s executive board on Wednesday recommended adding breakdancing, skateboarding, sport climbing, and surfing to the Paris program when the full membership meets in June.

A final decision must be made by the board in December 2020 after further monitoring of the four.

Also Wednesday, the IOC board agreed to continue helping North and South Korean athletes and officials work together despite diplomatic setbacks between the neighboring governments in recent days.

Joint Korean teams are being prepared in four sports to try to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and a co-hosting bid for the 2032 Summer Games is a possible aim.

With those 2032 Olympics and the 2030 Winter Games in mind, a panel has been asked to look at ways of making an often expensive and politically unpopular candidate process “more flexible and more targeted.”

“The IOC may approach a city or a region and tell them, ‘Listen, isn’t it not a time for you now?’” IOC President Thomas Bach said at a news conference after the second of three days of board meetings.

Making the Olympic Games more affordable and responsive has been a key aim for Bach. He praised the four likely additions to the Paris medal program as “more gender balanced, more youthful and more urban”

“These four sports also offer the opportunity to connect with the young generation,” he said.

Though breakdancing would be new in the Summer Games, the other three are already confirmed for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics lineup.

All four sports will be assessed for how they are managed, and the integrity of competitions and judging, before being finalized for Paris.

The IOC hosted a meeting of Korean government and sports officials in February, one year after the neighbors fielded a combined teams women’s ice hockey at the Pyeongchang Olympics hosted south of the border.

Last Friday, North Korea withdrew staff from a shared liaison office in its border town of Kaesong. Some staff returned to work on Monday.

“We will try to continue our efforts there with a view to helping and assisting the athletes and the (national Olympic committees),” Bach said.

Combined Korean teams — in women’s basketball, women’s field hockey, mixed team judo, and men’s and women’s rowing — are preparing to enter qualification this year to compete in Tokyo.

If a Korean bid emerges for the 2032 Olympics, it could compete with candidates from Australia, India, Indonesia and Russia which have expressed early interest.

Asked if plans to simplify Olympic bidding could see the IOC approach a favored city, Bach said it was “not our goal.”

“The Olympic Games are too big and too important that you could have an arrangement with a city,” he said.

The new panel of five IOC members, chaired by John Coates of Australia, aims to suggest ideas for the candidate process by the June 24-26 meeting of the full membership in Lausanne.

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