» CAL­I­FOR­NIA GEARS UP FOR TOKYO GAMES

Lodi News-Sentinel - - SPORTS - By El­liott Al­mond

The Sum­mer Olympics in Tokyo will have a Cal­i­for­nia ac­cent when the 17-day sports fes­ti­val opens one year from to­day.

We’re not talk­ing about “dude” speak, although a Kelly Slater sight­ing would be the “bomb.”

The Tokyo Games, July 24Aug. 9, will in­tro­duce two of Cal­i­for­nia’s em­blem­atic coun­ter­cul­ture sports — surf­ing and skate­board­ing — in the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee’s con­tin­u­ing fight against ag­ing.

Surf­ing and skate­board­ing will join sport climb­ing, karate and the re­turn of base­ball/soft­ball in the Olympic pro­gram on a one-time-only ba­sis. The ac­tion sports are the lat­est con­tri­bu­tions from the Golden State, which has hatched Olympic sports in beach vol­ley­ball, BMX, moun­tain bik­ing, snow­board­ing, triathlon and wind­surf­ing.

Surf­ing and skat­ing pro­vide an ap­pe­tiz­ing po­ten­tial for wave master Slater and three-time snow­board gold medal­ist Shaun White to per­form on the Sum­mer Olympics stage.

“There’s a whole group of peo­ple in my gen­er­a­tion and the gen­er­a­tion af­ter me who haven’t had the draw to the Olympics like my par­ents have,” said Con­ner Cof­fin, ranked 12th on the World Surf League men’s cham­pi­onship tour. “Hope­fully it will draw more young peo­ple and re­vi­tal­ize that view­er­ship.”

The Tokyo Games will fea­ture 10,000 ath­letes from more than 200 coun­tries com­pet­ing in 33 sports, in­clud­ing all of those ac­tion-packed en­deav­ors that add to the Cal­i­for­ni­ca­tion of the Olympics.

Here is a quick look at what to ex­pect when Olympic fever takes hold next sum­mer.

Dude, this one could be “epic.”

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