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The International Olympics Committee has won some street cred after a handful of new sports immediately captured global attention. It helped that the first gold medal among them went to the host nation, which had largely been unenthusiastic about holding these pandemic-era Games.

Local hero Yuto Horigome carried a burden for Japan, along with a certain responsibility to show the world that these Games deserved to go ahead after months of controversy. His chosen sport, skateboarding, put a focus on the legitimacy of adding newer, unconventional sports to the Tokyo Games. Any doubts about that decision were erased by some dramatic performances showing that whatever else happens during these two weeks, the Olympics can still connect with their times.

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