Salem Radio Network News Sunday, December 10, 2023


Olympics-US breaker prepares for mental battle at Games

By Amy Tennery

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Top United States breaker and new world champion Victor Montalvo has started the clock on months of mental preparation, after punching his ticket to the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Montalvo held off one of his fiercest rivals, Canadian Phil Wizard, in the final to take the World Breaking Championship title late last month and become the first American to qualify for breaking at the Olympics.

“This is the most important win of my career,” he told Reuters. “And I made history.”

The 29-year-old is one of only a handful of competitors to have booked his spot in Paris but is leaving nothing to chance as he heads back to Colorado Springs for another Team USA training camp in a week’s time.

“Breaking is more mental than physical. It’s important for us to be original, be creative,” said Montalvo.

“It doesn’t matter how fast you are or how strong you are, you can have the craziest moves in the world, but that doesn’t mean you’re the best breaker in the world.”

Breaking – or breakdancing – shares artistic similarities to other summer disciplines including gymnastics.

But unlike a gymnast performing a floor routine to pre-planned music, Montalvo said breakers have no advance knowledge of what beats a DJ will play when they take the stage, making improvisational skills critical in a brand new sport to the Olympic programme.

“If everything is choreographed from the beginning to end, you just look robotic,” he said.

“You have to be able to improvise. So it’s a lot on the mind… I don’t know how we’re able to keep our composure and keep ourselves just levelheaded. It’s really tough.”

Montalvo, who suspects power moves and showmanship will reign supreme under the supersized Olympic spotlight, said he is focused on fine-tuning “freezes” – a sudden stop in which the breaker holds a move – while staying true to his own style.

“I don’t change myself, the system,” he said. “I keep on doing what I do. I just make sure that I do add a little bit more of the physicality for it.”

(Reporting by Amy Tennery in New York; Editing by Toby Davis)


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