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Rachael Gunn

Age

36

Place of Birth

HORNSBY, NSW

Hometown

Sydney

Olympic History

Paris 2024

 

Rachael's Story

Sydney academic Rachael Gunn is leading something of a double life. By day she is a lecturer in the Department of Media, Communications, Creative Arts, Literature and Language at Macquarie University.

She is a teacher and researcher with interests in the areas of dance, performance, media, autoethnography and post-structuralist and feminist theory.

But by night she goes dancing. Break dancing. And after securing qualification at the Oceania Breaking Championships in Sydney in 2023, she’s heading to Paris to compete in the inaugural Olympic breaking competition.

 

It’s a remarkable achievement for someone who grew up dancing but didn’t start competing in breaking competitions until her mid-twenties.

“I wasn’t a sporty kid, I was more of a dance kid,” Rachael said. “I never thought the Olympics would be on the cards for me. It’s such a privilege and it’s hugely exciting.”

As the Australian Breaking Association’s top-ranked B-girl, Rachael represented Australia at the World Breaking Championships in Paris in 2021 and in Seoul in 2022.

“I think a lot of people had doubted my ability to do it and maybe thought I was getting too old to be able to stay on top,” she said. “But I just kept pushing hard, I want to get better, and I want the scene to grow and get better.

“I’m excited about the opportunities that I’m going to get and I’m going to bring them back to Australia and hope to teach the next generation.”

Rachael, who competes under the portmanteau of her two names, Raygun, holds a PhD in cultural studies, with her thesis focusing on the intersection of gender and Sydney’s breaking culture. She juggles her teaching and research responsibilities with hours of intensive training.

Breaking is a style of dance which emerged from hip hop culture in the United States in the 1970s and is characterised by acrobatic movements, stylised footwork and the key role played by the DJ and the master of ceremonies during battles.

At Paris 2024, 16 B-Boys and 16 B-Girls will go face-to-face in solo battles. Athletes will use a combination of power moves as they adapt their moves and improvise to the beat of the DJ’s tracks in a bid to secure the judges’ votes.

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