There’s no denying that 2020 was a terrible year for sport. However, as 2021 continues, we are getting to enjoy incredible sport once again, whether it is the Indians winning at cricket or the world’s tennis stars gathering at Wimbledon. Finally, in July we will be able to watch the Summer Olympics, five years after the last time the world gathered for this important international event.
Despite a year-long postponement, a few hiccups along the way, and rumours of further delay, we are assured that the games will indeed go ahead. So what are the athletes, teams, and events that you simply can’t miss?
What will the 2021 Summer Olympics Look Like?
Before we get into the best events and athletes we can expect to see at the games this year, let’s briefly address how the Olympics will be held in Tokyo in the context of the on-going COVID pandemic. As the pandemic continues to ravage certain parts of the world and concern over new strains, these Olympics won’t be a return to normal. In fact, they will probably be like no Olympic games ever held before.
Most of Japan is still under a state of emergency as they battle COVID cases, so the organisers will be making every effort to avoid issues at the 2021 Olympics to keep both the athletes and the local population safe. The games will involve extensive testing, distancing, and a large range safety protocols. Visiting athletes are discouraged from walking around the city and are required to leave Japan within 48 hours after their events are complete.
The Events, Athletes, and Teams to Watch
Be sure to note these ones down in your calendar as these are set to offer some unmissable sports moments!
The legendary US gymnast is definitely one of the top athletes to look out for at Tokyo 2021. The superstar is certain to put in a strong performance and may just take home back to back Olympic championships. If she does, she’ll be the first female to do so in over 50 years.
2The Australian Swimming Team
35 Australian swimmers are heading to Tokyo and the team is definitely one to watch! The wealth of talent on the team includes Kaylee McKeown, Ariarne Titmus, Emma McKeon, and 100m champion Kyle Chalmers. After a disappointing performance across the last two Olympics, 2021 just might see the Australian swim team return to its former glory!
Bromell will be representing the USA at track and field in the men’s 100m event, after his team mate Christian Coleman was suspended for missing three drug tests within 12 months. After Achilles and leg injuries last year, Bromell is back on top form and currently stands as the fastest man in the world in 2021.
Tokyo 2021 will be the first Olympic Games to feature skateboarding as a sport, along with baseball, softball, karate, surfing and sport climbing. Skateboard’s exciting Olympic debut will feature both street and park skateboarding, and skaters to watch will include Japan’s Horigome Yuto, USA’s Nyjah Huston,and Brazilian Laticia Bufoni. The street skateboarding course looks like a typical urban site with a time limit, but skaters can choose their route around the course. On the other hand, the park skating will be held in smooth bowls with steep curved inclines that allow skaters to achieve massive height, with skaters scored on difficulty and originality.
Cycling has been a fixture of the summer Olympics for some time, and the mountain biking will be one of the most exciting events this year. The event will be held on a 4.1-kilometer Izu Mountain course with a mass start and set number of laps. Teams to watch will include the Dutch mountain bike squad led by Mathieu van der Poel, one of the favourites for a gold medal at this event. French cyclist and six time elite world champion Pauline Ferrand-Prevot is a hot favourite for the women’s race.
5Pusarla Venkata Sindhu
The Indian badminton star was the first Indian female athlete to win a silver medal at the Olympics and is set to put in another star performance in Tokyo. Ranked at number seven in the world going into the Olympics, Sindhu is one of India’s biggest hopes in badminton, and probably across all events. Badminton is a fast and exciting sport to watch, so don’t forget to tune into this one!
After a one-year delay, the Tokyo Olympics are sure to be worth the wait! Whether established events like cycling or track and field, or new sports that are being debuted for the first time such as skateboarding, there are sure to be countless unforgettable moments at the long-awaited 2021 Olympic Games.