17-year-old 'B-girl' sensation inspires China's Olympic breakdancing dreams
Paul Barber

Do you know your toprock from your downrock? Your power moves from your freezes? Fans of breakdancing will understand – and so might many more people next year when the urban style of street dancing is added to the list of competitive disciplines at the Paris Summer Olympic Games. 

And one young Chinese B-Girl – or breakdancer – is setting her sights on the top prize.

They call her '671' but Chinese breakdance champion Liu Qingyi is proving herself to be far more than just three numbers. 

The 17-year-old sensation dazzled audiences in the French city of Montpellier this week, bagging her second gold medal of the year, crushing Lithuania's Dominika Banevic, recently crowned European champion.

Claiming the title in the World DanceSport Federation Breaking for Gold World Series, Liu gainec valuable ranking points towards next summer's Olympic Games in Paris.

"I wish that next year in the Olympics Games I can win just like today. I will stay calm and not become arrogant and keep my cool, and just keep on practicing," said Liu.

And it is a case of practise makes perfect. The B-Girl from Henan Province has shot to fame in just a year after winning back-to-back championships at her first two European competitions, and a silver medal at the World Breaking Championships in South Korea.

"The team is progressing enormously and in less than a year," said Team China head coach Mounir Biba. "Look, all these young artists, they lack experience, but today we can see that this lack of experience is being addressed with each event. It's the fourth final in a row, and a second gold medal. It's really great and we're really happy with it."


Growth of a sport

It's a happy time to be in this game. 

Paris 2024 will be the first Olympics to feature breakdancing. Practitioners of this street dance – with its origins in African-American culture – know it requires athletic skills to match any urban sport.

"Breakdancing is all about the relationship with the music. Not only are the moves difficult, but they also have to resonate with the music," said Chinese national breakdancing team captain Shang Xiaoyu.

"The performance will also be affected by other factors like the audience, the venue and even the stage lighting. You need to adjust your dance to the scene and the atmosphere."

At its Paris debut next year, there will be two individual competitions for men and women – each seeing 16 breakers battle it out – with a spectacular face-to-face duel to determine the gold in both categories.

Liu '671' Qingyi will be hoping her numbers stay lucky.

17-year-old 'B-girl' sensation inspires China's Olympic breakdancing dreams

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