|Hosts: Tokyo, Japan Dates: 23 July-8 August Time in Tokyo: BST +8|
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After a 12 months’s delay the Tokyo Olympics will lastly get beneath method subsequent Saturday with simply over 11,000 athletes from all world wide trying to make their mark.
BBC Sport will have a look at the large stars from Workforce GB and Japan within the days forward, however first we pick 10 worldwide athletes to look out for in Tokyo.
Since a 16-year-old Simone Biles first appeared on the world gymnastics scene, she has gone from ‘gifted American gymnast’, to ‘2016 Rio royalty’ to ‘the best of all time’.
However alongside the best way she has needed to face adversities together with abuse, exhaustion, lockdowns and the inevitability of getting older. At 24, in gymnastics phrases she is a veteran.
Biles lately informed Sports activities Illustrated her athleticism is just not what it was 5 years in the past and there was even some extent through the first lockdown the place she nearly gave up.
Placing her physique by the rigours of Olympic coaching for an additional 12 months appeared an excessive amount of for the Texan.
However as an alternative Biles got here again stronger, armed with a brand new talent that no gymnast had ever tried in competitors. It turned the fourth talent named after her.
No Olympic gymnast has managed to retain the distinguished all-around title twice since 1968.
USA team-mate Sunisa Lee will give it a superb go however judging by Biles’ type and the extent of issue in her routines, it’s going to want one thing actually particular to beat her.
The ladies’s gymnastics competitors begins on Sunday, 25 July.
An American swimmer aiming for a number of Olympic golds – sound acquainted?
However Caeleb Dressel is set to disregard the comparisons with probably the most embellished Olympian of all time – Michael Phelps and his 23 golds, three silvers and two bronzes.
“You bought folks evaluating Michael Jordan and LeBron James,” Dressel defined to GQ Journal in June.
“Look, I will activate the TV to observe LeBron. I do not care if he is higher than Jordan. He is superb at what he does. Why does it matter if he is higher than MJ or not?”
Apart from, Dressel says he isn’t aiming to beat anybody apart from yesterday’s model of himself.
And, with “simply” the 2 Olympic golds thus far, he has a protracted strategy to go earlier than he matches Phelps however the 24-year-old is favorite to win as much as six gold medals in Tokyo.
He’s competing in three particular person occasions – the 50m & 100m freestyle, plus the 100m fly – and can function in three, presumably 4, relays.
The 100m freestyle begins on Tuesday, 27 July.
Earlier than you ask, sure Jessica Springsteen is certainly associated to “The Boss”, also called American rock legend Bruce Springsteen.
She is his daughter and has been driving for the reason that age of 5 – the household personal and reside on a ranch in New Jersey, therefore her present leaping pedigree.
On the age of 29, this shall be Springsteen’s first aggressive Olympic Video games after she was an alternate rider in London and missed out on the workforce in 2016.
However Jessie, as she is understood, isn’t just within the workforce for the star-spangled surname. The rider is ranked 14th on this planet and has picked up wins at prestigious occasions world wide.
She is going to journey 12-year-old stallion Don Juan van de Donkhoeve, with whom she completed 18th at Windsor in early July.
The person leaping begins on Tuesday, 3 August.
Arguably some of the anticipated performances of those Video games will come from 43-year-old transgender weightlifter Laurel Hubbard.
New Zealand’s Hubbard, who broke male nationwide information as a junior, will compete within the girls’s 87kg weightlifting class and is likely one of the favourites to win a medal.
Hubbard’s inclusion is seen as a milestone for trans equality and plenty of have praised the Worldwide Olympic Committee’s inclusive insurance policies and the New Zealand organising committee for her choice.
Critics say her participation within the Olympics is unfair for female-born athletes, pointing to organic benefits of those that have gone by puberty as males, corresponding to elevated bone and muscle density.
Hubbard would be the first trans athlete to compete on the Olympics in a person occasion – and is unlikely to be the final.
The ladies’s weightlifting 87kg begins on Monday, 2 August.
Six-time Olympic medallist Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce is again for what could possibly be her last stab on the gold.
On the age of 34, the Jamaican comes into these Video games in very good type, having run the second quickest 100m of all time – 10.63 seconds – in June.
Fraser-Pryce is one in every of solely three girls in historical past to efficiently defend their Olympic 100m title (2008 and 2012) – and no-one has ever gained the title thrice.
The nine-time world champion will face robust competitors from compatriots Shericka Jackson and Elaine Thompson-Herah, in addition to the Ivorian Marie-Josee Ta Lou and Nice Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith.
The ladies’s 100m heats get beneath method on Friday, 30 July.
Recent from securing his twentieth Grand Slam title at Wimbledon, Novak Djokovic shall be looking for to assert the fourth a part of the so-called ‘Golden Slam’ of tennis.
Germany’s Steffi Graf is the one participant to finish the set of Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, Olympic gold and US Open in a calendar 12 months, which she achieved in 1988.
Djokovic has gained the primary three tournaments however must strike gold in Tokyo after which declare the US Open in September.
The Serb was 50-50 about going to Tokyo after it was introduced followers wouldn’t be allowed to attend however has now confirmed his participation.
Djokovic would be the clear favorite in Japan with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal absent, and reigning champion Andy Murray solely an out of doors hope after greater than his fair proportion of accidents.
The Olympic tennis competitors will get beneath method on Saturday, 24 July.
Wayde van Niekerk
South African Wayde van Niekerk was the breakout athletics star of the Rio Video games 5 years in the past, however it has not been a simple journey since.
Van Niekerk, who smashed Michael Johnson’s 400m world file in 2016 (43.03 seconds), was injured in a charity contact rugby match quickly after the final Olympics and has struggled to search out type since.
The 29-year-old had been specializing in the 200m within the build-up to the Video games however failed to achieve the qualifying time.
He returned to his speciality distance – the 400m – and simply managed to qualify in June, a lot to the reduction of his residence followers in South Africa.
Not solely is it an enormous summer time for his profession, he has additionally simply introduced he’s to develop into a father later this 12 months. Little question it is going to be an emotional return to the Olympic monitor for Van Niekerk.
The boys’s 400m heats begin on Sunday, 1 August.
If successful one Olympic gold in judo is a large achievement, think about successful three.
French judoka Teddy Riner might full that hat-trick in Tokyo.
The ten-time world champion, who additionally gained bronze at his first Olympics in 2008, continues to be going robust at 32, successful +100kg gold on the World Judo Masters occasion in the beginning of the 12 months.
France’s flagbearer in Rio, ‘Teddy Bear’ as he’s typically identified, is likely one of the most embellished athletes on the Video games, and standing at 6ft 8in, is likely one of the most imposing too.
The primary spherical of Riner’s +100kg class begins on Thursday, 29 July.
The USA girls’s soccer workforce
Why decide one participant when the entire workforce type one fierce drive of worldwide superstars?
The four-time world champions are going for his or her fifth Olympic gold (1996, 2004, 2008, and 2012) and shall be looking for redemption after they have been knocked out of 2016’s event on the quarter-final stage by way of a penalty shootout.
Their opening group sport in Tokyo is towards Sweden, the winners of that shootout.
With a staggering unbeaten streak of 44 video games and their star gamers in high type who would guess towards them this time?
9 of their squad have earned over 100 caps, together with the ever-present Carli Lloyd, who has greater than 300, and is 5 appearances from matching Christie Pearce (formally Rampone) for second on the all-time record with 311.
The long-lasting Megan Rapinoe can be three assists off of Abby Wambach’s 73, which might take the striker to 3rd on that all-time desk.
USA face Sweden on Wednesday, 21 July.
Among the many 12 NBA superstars heading to Tokyo is Brooklyn Nets small ahead Kevin Durant.
The 2-time Olympian won’t wish to break the custom of Workforce USA bringing residence the gold, however it has not been a simple build-up with two defeats in a warm-up competitors in Las Vegas.
Durant (or just KD as he’s identified) was the US workforce’s main scorer on the previous two Olympics.
USA males’s opening match shall be on Sunday, 25 July towards France.