“DO THE THINGS YOU LIKE”: IN CONVERSATION WITH B-GIRL INDIA

Slightly nervous but with huge excitement, France’s capital and the whole world are getting ready for the Olympic Games 2024

While the city is busy with improving infrastructure, athletes are in the full-on preparation stage, just as Dutch breaker B-girl India, a huge talent and star to keep an eye on during the games for which the sport is going to make its Olympic debut. Born and raised in Hague, Netherlands, India Sardjoe will not only represent one of the top-16 breakers in the world—the best of the best—but also a modern life credo of how to find freedom and individuality in sports. But this does not mean that competition breaking is all about freestyling; it requires, just like any other elite sport, lots of strategy and analysis. Sardjoe wants to keep things as authentic as possible. While most dancers, known as B-girls or B-boys, compete under a pseudonym that could represent their alter ego, the 18-year-old athlete decided to keep her real name. At the age of seven, she started to explore breaking for the first time after she got bored with her hip-hop classes and also gave up her football. By now, she is also a member of Heavyhitters and Hustlekidz dance crews. For the Olympics, though, breakers will compete as individuals, but the teenage prodigy also pointed out that it could still be considered a team sport.

In April, Nike showcased its new products for athletes with one of the top 40 names of the Olympics in a special “Nike On Air” event at the Palais Brongniart in Paris. This is where we met the young star. Why B-girl India does things differently. Five minutes with the 18-year-old rising hero.

Sina Braetz: What is the biggest power of breaking?

B-girl India: To be unique and have your own style.

How would you describe your very own power as an athlete/dancer and individual person?

I have a lot of discipline, and I am eager to learn, because I always want to better myself. I would also say that I am very energetic and fun.

What do you tell people who say breaking isn’t sport?

Not much. I know that breaking is a sport, and I know how hard I have to work, so I try not to spend much energy on those people.

How does it feel to be a B-girl on the world’s biggest sports stage?

It means a lot. Over the years, breaking has become a constantly growing part of my life. It’s basically my whole life now, so it means a lot, and I’m really happy to do it and break on this level.

How do you prepare for the Olympics, mentally and physically? What is most important in these days?

Physically, I prepare myself to train a lot and focus on breaking but also strength and conditioning. I also try to recover as best as possible, so I keep a balance between training and resting. I feel like if I’m physically ready, it’s a lot easier to get mentally ready as well. Besides that, I also like to watch videos of previous Olympians talking about their stories, so I have some insight on how they experienced it.

“Over the years, breaking has become a constantly growing part of my life. It’s basically my whole life now, so it means a lot, and I’m really happy to do it and break on this level”
What do you think is/will be the biggest challenge throughout the preparation process, during the games and after?

The biggest challenge during the preparation is for sure combining my training schedule with my school exams and studying. During and right before the games, the biggest challenge will be to not overtrain. I want to train and be as good as possible, but it is important to keep the right balance.

What is your biggest hope for the Olympics (apart from winning)?

My biggest hope is to have a great experience and enjoy it as much as possible, especially during the battle. You have to be focused, but you also want to enjoy and have fun while competing.

How do you manage to stay authentic and loyal to yourself?

I think the key is to have clear boundaries. That means saying yes to the things I want to do and no to the things I don’t want to do, and being very clear in communicating that. Do the things you like. And if I don’t like it, then I don’t do it.

“You have to be focused, but you also want to enjoy and have fun while competing”
What role does the right product play in achieving your goals and dreams?

I think the outfit plays a big role in performing well. It means so much to me because I dance much better when I have a good outfit. I dance much better when I feel good. Baggy pants and bright colors—that’s it for me.

From your own POV, what is the role that female athletes play in taking Nike’s innovation to the next level?

Nike pays a lot of attention to women, which is nice. I give a lot of feedback on the product when there’s a new shoe, for instance, I can train with it and see how it feels. Nike does listen a lot; they really care about our input, which really shows that Nike is for the athletes.

“I think the outfit plays a big role in performing well. It means so much to me because I dance much better when I have a good outfit. I dance much better when I feel good”

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