Olympics-Breaking duo set to bring street culture to Olympic movement

Rachael Gunn and Jeff Dunne talk during a press event for their announcement as Australia's first Olympic breakers at Redfern Community Centre ahead of the 2024 Paris Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia, February 24, 2024. REUTERS/Jaimi Joy

(Reuters) - Bringing the energy and language of the street to the buttoned-down and staid Olympic Games, the names of 'Raygun' and 'J-Attack' will be unconventional additions to Australia's team travelling to Paris in July and August.

Otherwise known as Rachael Gunn and Jeff Dunne, the pair were confirmed on Saturday as the country's representatives when breaking makes its Olympic debut later this year.

Known among the uninitiated as "breakdancing" - a term roundly rejected by its practitioners - breaking blends artistry and dance with acrobatic moves and was announced as part of the Paris programme in late 2020.

Featuring 16 female and 16 male competitors - or 'B-Girls' and 'B-Boys' - in Paris, the urban dance style that originated in the Bronx borough of New York in the 1970s is set to bring a new dimension to the Olympic movement.

"Breaking is a culture, it's a way of life, it's a lifestyle," says Gunn. "You've got these values, you've got these traditions, you've got these practices.

"But it's also a community as well, so we really do support each other and our own way of communicating with each other.

"It's thrilling, it's really amazing to be able to see breaking pushed in this direction."

Gunn leads a double life, working as a lecturer at Sydney's Macquarie University while also ranked as Australia's leading B-girl having represented the country at the World Breaking Championships in Paris in 2021 and in Seoul in 2022.

Performing under the name Raygun, the 36-year-old holds a PhD in cultural studies, with her thesis focusing on the intersection of gender and Sydney's breaking culture.

Dunne, or J-Attack, is a 16-year-old high school student and is set to be one of the youngest members of the Australian Olympic delegation travelling to France.

"Yeah it's gangster," Dunne says of his selection. "It's skitz, I'm super keen, I'm thrilled, going to the Olympics.

"That's a crazy part of my life, I'm able to brag about to my friends and all that. That's crazy!"

(Reporting by Cordelia Hsu; Writing by Michael Church; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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