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Japanese skateboarder and medal contender Aori Nishimura is hoping that the sport’s debut at the Tokyo Olympics, and the success of homegrown athletes like herself, can help overcome some of the stigma that skateboarding often carries in the host nation.

“I do think it’s more difficult for people that want to skateboard in Japan compared to overseas,” said Nishimura, who turns 20 this week and lives in Huntington Beach, California. “I realized it when I first went overseas — you can skate in the streets and people will be like “‘wow, cool.’” In Japan, “the image of skateboarding still isn’t great.”

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