Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment & Technology Law

First Page



Nelson Mandela has said that “[s]port has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does . . . . It is more powerful than governments in breaking down barriers.” Sports can have tremendous value, not only to the individual participants in promoting physical and mental health, skills, and teamwork, but also to society in fostering community, civic pride, and a sense of belonging, even among the fans. Sports have significant economic, political and cultural impacts at the local, national, and international spheres.

This Article considers a new addition to the Olympic Programme, “breaking,” as a potential means to expand Olympian demographics and “break” cultural, racial, and economic barriers. It examines the governing structure and fundamental principles of the Olympic Movement, analyzing whether breaking is itself a sport; it explores issues of defining what is a sport, who decides whether a sport fits that definition, and the process for recognizing an Olympic sport employed within the United States and at the international sport level. Finally, the Article considers whether breaking can achieve and sustain expanded opportunities and access for diverse athletes worldwide.