Saturday, April 20, 2024
HomesportGames-B-Boy Phil Wizard conjures up Pan Am gold and ticket to Paris

Games-B-Boy Phil Wizard conjures up Pan Am gold and ticket to Paris

SANTIAGO : Canadian breaker B-Boy Phil Wizard (Philip Kim) conjured up a gold medal and a ticket to the Paris Olympics on Saturday taking top spot on the podium in the first Pan American Games break dancing competition.

B-Girl Sunny (Grace Choi) is also going to Paris after the American claimed the women’s gold on a historic day for a sport that is facing an uncertain future.

Break dancing’s addition to the Paris Olympic programme raised eyebrows among traditionalists but its status as an official sport may be short-lived after being passed over for inclusion in the 2028 Los Angeles Summer Games.

With the possibility of break dancing being one-and-done as an Olympic sport, the Pan American Games took on greater significance with gold medallists getting a coveted quota spot and a chance to perhaps go down in history as the sport’s one and only Olympic champion.

“Honestly the Olympic place means more to me, I want to be there, I want to be part of history,” said Kim, after adding Pan Am gold to his 2022 world championship title. “To be completely honest I had already secured my spot because Victor (Montalvo) from the U.S. had already won the world championships, so two U.S. people cannot get a direct quota in breaking.

“Going into the finals I had already secured my spot but it gave me more of push because it would have been bitter sweet to secure my place and lose the battle.”

Known for his creativity Kim blended artistry and athleticism in his gold medal battle with the United States B-Boy Jeffro (Jeffrey Lewis) earning a perfect 3-0 score from the nine judges.

“My focus has always been respecting myself,” said the 26-year-old Canadian. “The way I approach breaking is always originality and creativity first because that is just what I like doing and I think I presented that today.”

A thundering wall-rattling beat provided the soundtrack for the battles fought on a stage that was a cross between a disco dance floor and a mixed martial arts octagon.

The battles while intense never cross the line even though breakers traded menacing gestures and stare downs that all sent the same message, “beat that.”.

The competition was staged in one of the far less glamorous corners of the Chilean capital at a cultural centre reached through gritty graffiti lined back avenues that provided a nod to breaking’s street roots.

Born out of the hip-hop culture of the early 1970s break dancing came to life on the streets of New York and has grown global presence with B-Boys from 10 countries and B-Girls from nine competing for the first Pan Am gold.

“To be a part of history for me really means the world,” said Kim. “Of course I want to win but first and foremost its about showing breaking to the world.

“I want more people to see this because this is what I have spent my year doing.”

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