Rails，Nails and Bails Win Over the Olympic Spirit
Tim Culpan 蒂姆·丘尔潘
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.
For Japan， the win meant not only a medal for its tally but a sorely needed morale boost. A day later， as if to prove the point， three Japanese made it through to the women's street skateboarding final. But the significance hasn't been just the medals that the IOC handed out this week at Tokyo's Ariake Urban Sports Park. It's the acknowledgement that there's a raft of sports out there that many don't take seriously but deserve credit.
An hour away at Tsurigasaki Surfing Beach， the tail end of a typhoon greeted the debut of Olympic surfing， capping decades of campaigning to get the sport entry to the games. That sports once viewed as the refuge of hippies and dropouts now have a global stage alongside the centuries-old traditions of fencing， archery and equestrianism is a sign that the Olympics are growing up.
In reality， these sports aren't particularly new， nor the athletes especially youthful —at 22， Horigome is older than many swimmers and gymnasts. But their fans definitely skew toward an age segment that both the Olympic Movement and the exclusive broadcasters must to tap to remain relevant.
While blue-ribbon events like the men's 100-meter sprint and women's soccer will be old-school favorites in the final week， the introduction of sports climbing， karate and park skateboarding are likely to bring the thrills and drama that audiences crave. While it may seem that the Olympics have finally validated a few previously ignored sports， the reality is that these modern athletes are conferring new legitimacy on one of the world's oldest events.