Here's everything you need to know about the Olympics eye-raising events

There will be 339 events in Tokyo next year. Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

Breakdancing will be a full-fledged, medal sport in the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris. Yeah, I know, hysterical. All week, I've been listening to sports talk hosts snickering, wondering how the hell the International Olympic Committee ever approved breakdancing as a sport.

Here's how. Breakdancing is physically demanding, takes creativity and strength, it's popular with young people, especially inner city minorities … and don't even think about trying it yourself. You'll wind up in traction at Ben Taub Hospital. As Bob Dylan once said, "don't criticize what you can't understand."

The fact is, breakdancing isn't much different from the floor exercise in gymnastics, In some ways, breakdancing is tougher - there's no breaks to catch your breath, and no padding on the floor. Simone Biles can jump through the roof doing a barefoot Triple Lindy, but can she spin on her head on a piece of cardboard? Can she airlfare, windmill and toprock like those downtown kids?

I think it's the "dancing" part that has folks wondering why breakdancing is coming to the Olympics. Actually, the name of the sport in the Olympics will be "Breaking." And it's one of five new medal sports for 2024. The others are surfing, karate, sport climbing (like wall climbing at the mall), and skateboarding (like at the mall after closing).

The Olympics are smart to invite new sports, to get younger. It's not like the Olympics are a growth industry. The 2018 Games in South Korea were the lowest-rated Winter Olympics ever. The 2018 Games averaged 19.8 million viewers in the U.S. The 2014 Games in Sochi, Russia averaged 21.3 million viewers. The 2002 Games in Salt Lake City averaged 31.9 million viewers. That's called trending in the wrong direction.

Ratings for the 2016 Summer Games in Rio were the lowest in 50 years, down 17 percent from the 2012 Games in London.

What do the Olympics have to lose by adding hip millennial events like breakdancing and skateboarding? They might actually gain viewers. If swimming and gymnastics and figure skating and ski jumping are so popular, how come Americans care about them only every four years? Go ahead, name one U.S. ski jumper. Or any ski jumper anywhere in the world.

There will be 339 events in Tokyo next year, that is, if the postponed once already Games are held. I'm thinking another false start, this time a complete cancelation. There will be too many athletes, judges, officials and possibly fans coming from too many places where COVID-19 still will be raging. Paris in 2024 already is downsizing, only 329 events will be held. Cross country is one of the sports on the chopping block.

If breakdancing isn't a sport, and shouldn't be in the Olympics, then what's rhythmic gymnastics doing there? That's totally dancing with a ball or ribbon or a hula hoop. You don't have to be the world's greatest athlete to be the second or third guy in a four-man bobsled. Synchronized swimming?

If ESPN can show the spelling bee, poker, hot dog eating and calf roping (all having nothing to do with sports), then breakdancing definitely belongs in the Olympics. What's next or ESPN, Parcheesi? Call of Duty?

It's not the first time the Olympics have held competition in non-traditional sports. Over the years, the Olympics have awarded medals in tug of war, croquet, motor boating, two-handed discus, and jai alai. I would love to see jai alai return to the Games, so I could play the 2-3-5-8 parlay, my standard bet at the Dania fronton in Florida.

Just to clear something up, I heard one national sports host saying he couldn't wait for the baseball competition at next year's Summer Games in Tokyo because he loves watching the U.S. dominate.

He might consider that the U.S. baseball team, ranked No. 2 in the world behind Japan, might not even qualify for the Olympics. Only six teams will compete in Tokyo, and four countries already have locked up berths: Mexico (which beat the U.S. in the Americas qualifier), Japan, South Korea and Israel. I know one of the Israeli players, Jeremy Wolf, the slugging leftfielder from the 2016 Trinity University D3 College World Series Champions. Go Tigers!

Two slots for the Tokyo Games have yet to be decided. The U.S. team, comprised of AA and AAA minor leaguers, will get one last shot in another "lucky loser" qualifying tournament.

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

Houston loses in San Francisco

Astros drop back-and-forth middle game to Giants to even series

Houston's offense couldn't keep up with the Giants on Saturday. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images.

With the impressive win in the opener to start the series, the Astros entered Saturday's middle game against the Giants with an opportunity to not just secure the series but surpass San Francisco for the best record in the league. They'd have to wait to take that crown, as the Giants would out-slug the Astros to even the series.

Final Score: Giants 8, Astros 6

Astros' Record: 64-41, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jay Jackson (2-0)

Losing Pitcher: Blake Taylor (2-3)

Teams trade blows early, Giants chase Greinke out early

The teams traded blows early in this one, with the Giants tagging Zack Greinke with six runs, all on homers. The first was a solo shot in the bottom of the second to start the scoring before hitting one in each inning through the fourth: two-run blasts in the third and fourth, then a go-ahead solo shot in the bottom of the fifth, putting them ahead 6-5 at the time. Greinke would face one more batter, allowing a single to end his lackluster day: 4.0 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 4 HR, 93 P.

Houston's offense kept things close to try and keep Greinke in a position to win, going up 3-1 in the third on a two-run Aledmys Diaz homer and another coming in on an error. After San Francisco scored four unanswered to make it 5-3, Diaz homered again in the top of the fifth to cut the deficit to one run before Yuli Gurriel would tie it with an RBI double.

Astros stay in it, but Giants even the series by winning the slug-fest

With Greinke exiting with no outs in the fifth, Houston handed the ball to Phil Maton, acquired in the recent Myles Straw trade, to make his debut for his new team. He worked himself into a jam, allowing a single and hitting a batter to load the bases with one out, but was able to get back-to-back strikeouts to strike out the side and strand all three runners, keeping it a one-run game.

That proved pivotal in the top of the sixth, as with two outs, Martin Maldonado would launch a game-tying solo homer, making it 6-6. Blake Taylor took over out of the bullpen in the bottom of the inning but would face just three batters, getting two outs while leaving one on as Dusty Baker moved on to Cristian Javier. Javier would watch the Giants retake the lead, getting back-to-back singles to bring in a run and make it 7-6.

Javier stayed in the game in the bottom of the seventh, allowing a leadoff single but erasing it by striking out the next three batters. Still a 7-6 game in the bottom of the eighth, Yimi Garcia made his Astros debut but did not keep the score there, allowing a leadoff solo homer to make it a two-run game. The 8-6 score would go final as Houston's offense came up empty again in the top of the ninth, setting up a rubber game in the finale.

Up Next: The series finale will get underway at 3:05 PM Central on Sunday in San Francisco. Luis Garcia (7-5, 3.19 ERA) will take the mound for Houston, going opposite Logan Webb (4-3, 3.36 ERA) for the Giants.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome