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Spinning Gold: Canada’s Breakdancing Sensation Tops Podium

Canada’s Philip Kim danced his way to a gold medal at the Pan American Games, setting the stage for the Paris Olympics.

Dancers are athletes. No question.

One of the most athletically demanding forms of dance is breaking (breakdancing).

Philip Kim, known as B-boy Phil Wizard | Breaking Canada

Breaking originated among poor youth in New York City in the late ’60s and early ‘70s and is largely improvisational but incorporates moves from gymnastics, martial arts, and soul dancing.

But it wasn’t until 2018, at the Youth Olympics Games in Buenos Aires, that breaking became internationally recognized as a sport. 

This year marked the debut of breaking as a sport at the Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile. 

And at that event, a Canadian athlete stole the show, setting the bar high for future breakdancers.

Vancouver’s Philip Kim, known as B-boy Phil Wizard, a 26-year-old breakdancer, won the first Pan American Games gold medal in men’s breaking.

His win secured him a golden ticket to the 2024 Olympics in Paris, where breaking will be included as an Olympic sport for the first time.

This victory was significant for Kim, who yearns to participate in the Olympics and be a part of breaking history.

“In the last year, I can say it’s been a roller-coaster ride, but I’ve grown so much as a person as well as an artist and an athlete because of the process we’ve had to go through. It’s pushed me in ways that I’ve never been pushed before, and I’m very grateful for that,” Kim told CBC News.

Kim’s Breaking Journey

Kim’s journey has been challenging and transformative. 

Although born in Toronto, Kim started breaking in 2009 under the mentorship of Vancouver’s Now or Never and Soul Felons crews.

Today, Kim dances for the United Rivals, Wizards, and 7 Commandos crews. He is also the first Canadian breakdancer to win the Undisputed World Series and to be invited to the Red Bull BC One World Finals.

In 2022, he won the men’s world-breaking championship and was the runner-up this year, losing to Victor Montalvo of the United States in the final battle.

Unfortunately, losing to Montalvo meant losing both the world title and Olympic qualification. But Kim wasn’t about to let history repeat itself and had an opportunity to requalify for the Olympics if he made it to the finals at the Pan American Games.

Kim achieved his goal and then some. Heading into the final battle, he felt more motivated than ever.

Philip Kim smiles as he watches his competitor, Jeff (B-boy Jeffro) Louis, perform | Olympics

“Going into the final, I’d already secured my spot, but it honestly gave me more of a push because it would have been bittersweet to secure my spot to Paris and then lose the battle,” expressed Kim.

Kim’s outfit screamed Canadian. The breakdancer performed dressed in white with a tuque for his flashy final against Jeff (B-boy Jeffro) Louis from the United States.

In the first throw down, Kim scored 8-1 from the judges and 6-3 and 6-3 in the next two, securing the gold medal for the talented breakdancer.

Even after a neck injury during the preliminary round’s warm-up and a sleep-deprived night before the elimination rounds, Kim went undefeated at the Pan American Games.

Kim didn’t just break it down; he broke ground. 

Kim is a shining example for future Canadian breakdancers to follow.

Go check out Kim’s undeniably athletic superstar moves.

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