An Army NCO Is Aiming for Gold in the Olympics’ Newest Event: Breaking

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Staff Sgt. Brianna Pritchard does a fresh freeze in the middle of a throw down. (Alaska National Guard)

The news isn’t breaking, but the dance is. Once known as “break dancing,” it’s now a points-driven competitive sport, and it’s headed to the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris. Team USA is gathering a super crew of America’s fresh B-boys and B-girls in America to represent in the first Olympic throwdown battle.

If you didn’t understand half of that, it’s OK. You have a little over three years to update your wack vocabulary.

The International Olympic Committee added breaking, surfing, skateboarding and sport climbing to the Paris games in December 2020. One Alaska Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter mechanic is in full training mode to represent Team USA’s breaking team.

Staff Sgt. Brianna Pritchard has been training for this her whole life -- she just didn’t know it. Her father was a B-boy when he was in high school but didn’t maintain his skills. His daughter picked up what he dropped and has been breaking ever since.

Her old man, hesitant to allow her to throw down at first, has become her biggest supporter.

“He loves everything I do, he loves it,” Pritchard said in an interview with the Alaska Air National Guard. “It would be just as big of a dream for him as it would be for me to see me as an Olympian. He would absolutely love it, and that’s my number one goal.”

Pritchard has been training with the Olympics in mind for the past five years. She and her B-girl crew will vie for spots on the Team USA super crew to compete against the best in the world, and the rest of the world is tough competition.

That’s not enough to shake Pritchard, who already has competed internationally, won competitions in Arizona, Texas, Nevada, Hawaii and Florida and placed fourth in the USA Red Bull BC One National Finals in 2019.

Her recent deployment to Iraq may complicate her Olympic dreams, but it won’t end them. She already has won two Olympic qualifiers that were held online due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“It’s just bad timing that the deployment came up. However, going on a deployment has been another goal of mine since I joined the Army,” she said. “I know I could have said no and just focused on the Olympics, but this is just as important to me, too.”

Despite the requirements of her service, Pritchard says her number one goal in life is to be an Olympian, and even though it’s a new event for the 2024 Paris Games, she has no intention of stopping her Olympic training throughout her deployment.

“If you dedicate yourself with enough discipline, you can serve your country, be an outstanding soldier and achieve your dreams,” she said.

-- Blake Stilwell can be reached at blake.stilwell@military.com. He can also be found on Twitter @blakestilwell or on Facebook.

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