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Tokyo 2020 Olympics

'Urban sports' making debut in Tokyo bring new life to Olympics

Free-spirited approach to competition draws younger generation of fans

Yuto Horigome of Japan claimed the first Olympic gold medal in skateboarding when he won the men's street final in Tokyo on July 25.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Alongside traditional favorites like track and field and gymnastics, the Tokyo Olympics are drawing global attention with new "urban sports," including skateboarding, sports climbing and BMX freestyle.

These sports are especially popular with young people and allow even teenage athletes to find sponsors and travel internationally -- without coaches hovering nearby. They have the potential to reshape the image of sports, whose "win at all costs" ethos and rigid hierarchies are a turnoff for many youth.

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