When Yuto Horigome and other elite skateboarders competed in their sport’s Olympic debut at last year’s Tokyo Games, they performed only for each other in the confines of the unprecedented “bubble” that allowed the world’s largest sporting event to take place in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

Nine months later, many of those skaters were given a second chance to hear cheers from local crowds as the X Games — known for igniting the mainstream popularity of action sports and elevating many top athletes into household names — made its Japan debut over the weekend at Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium.

“It was really lonely to compete without fans at the Olympics,” Horigome said after winning Sunday’s rain-shortened men’s street skateboarding final, his first competitive appearance since winning Olympic gold in the same discipline. “But we had so many people come today, and I was able to perform new tricks, and I think we were able to show the fun of skating.”