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Los Angeles to host first World Urban Games

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Los Angeles won the bidding for the inaugural World Urban Games, an event organized by the Global Assn. of International Sports Federations. Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, L.A. Times owner, agreed to underwrite the five-day event, which will be held in September 2019 in El Segundo.
(Global Assn. of International Sports Federations)

Los Angeles will get a warm-up before hosting the 2028 Summer Olympics. The city was chosen Monday as the site of a new type of international competition.

The World Urban Games will feature hundreds of athletes competing in nontraditional sports such as three-on-three basketball, sports climbing (bouldering), break dance, freestyle flying disc, parkour, skateboarding and roller freestyle.

L.A. edged Budapest in bidding for the inaugural 2019 edition and could be the host again in 2021 depending on the success of the first attempt.

“L.A. is a young, vibrant and creative city, which has helped to shape youth culture and the urban sports, which are the very heart of the World Urban Games,” said Dr. Raffaele Chiulli, senior vice president of the Global Assn. of International Sports Federations.

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Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, owner of the Los Angeles Times, will serve as chairman of the local organizing committee.

“We are honored that the GAISF council chose Los Angeles and we’re excited to bring youth-focused sports competitions to the community,” Soon-Shiong said.

Over the past two decades, the Olympic movement has fought to stay relevant and attract younger fans, adding the likes of BMX bicycle racing and freestyle skiing to its program. Surfing will join the roster of demonstration events at the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo.

With its array of youthful sports, the World Urban Games takes that effort a step further.

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The concept was spearheaded by Patrick Baumann, a top International Olympic Committee executive who died suddenly last month. Baumann had worked closely with L.A. during bidding and early preparations for the 2028 Summer Games.

Local organizers for the World Urban Games said they intend to stage the event at a compact location near Los Angeles International Airport and will build a specialized park in El Segundo.

The five-day program will include several additional urban sports that have yet to be named, as well as elements of music and culture.

david.wharton@latimes.com

Follow @LAtimesWharton on Twitter


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