Katie Ledecky (United States): Ledecky was one of many largest stars of 2016, successful 5 Olympic golds and setting two world data — one within the 400-meter freestyle and one within the 800-meter freestyle. She was the primary swimmer since 1968 to win the 200-, 400- and 800-meter freestyles on the similar Olympics, and he or she will probably be seeking to defend all of these titles in Tokyo. She can even be favored within the 1,500-meter freestyle, which is making its debut this yr on the ladies’s aspect. Ledecky, 24, has damaged 14 world data throughout her illustrious profession.
Nyjah Huston (United States): Skateboarding makes its Olympic debut in Tokyo, and Huston is likely one of the sport’s icons. The 26-year-old, who has practically 5 million followers on Instagram, has received three of the final 4 world titles on the street class. He’s additionally received probably the most avenue medals in X Games historical past.
Noah Lyles (United States): Lyles, middle, is the present world champion within the 200 meters and many individuals’s favourite to win the occasion on the Olympics, which Usain Bolt received in every of the previous three Games. Bolt’s retirement additionally opens the door for a brand new 100-meter champion. Lyles, 23, was anticipated to compete in that occasion, too, however he completed seventh on the US Olympic trials and did not qualify. The winner of that race, Trayvon Bromell, is now among the many favorites there.
Stephanie Gilmore (Australia): Surfing makes its Olympic debut this yr, and the extremely adorned Gilmore will probably be one of many favorites on the ladies’s aspect. The 33-year-old has received extra world titles — seven — than any of her opponents. She’ll be seeking to beat out American Carissa Moore, the present world champ.
Caeleb Dressel (United States): Michael Phelps, probably the most adorned Olympian of all time, has referred to as it a profession. But Dressel is likely to be the following huge factor in males’s swimming. The 24-year-old has already bought two Olympic gold medals, and he is the world-record holder within the 100-meter butterfly. He’ll be racing in that occasion in addition to the 50-meter freestyle and the 100-meter freestyle.
Shi Tingmao (China): China’s diving groups have been dominating Olympic competitions since 1984, taking house 40 gold medals out of a doable 56. Shi, 29, received two golds in 2016 and can look so as to add to that tally earlier than calling it a profession. She’s owned the 3-meter springboard occasions since 2015, not often shedding an occasion.
Hend Zaza (Syria): At 12 years outdated, Zaza is predicted to be the youngest Olympian in Tokyo — and the fifth-youngest particular person ever to compete within the Olympics. The table-tennis participant really certified in February 2020 when she was simply 11. Because of the nation’s civil warfare, she hasn’t been capable of enter many tournaments, her coach has stated.
Zhu Ting (China): Zhu is the captain of China’s indoor volleyball group, which received Olympic gold 5 years in the past in Rio de Janeiro. The 6-foot-6 exterior hitter is 26 years outdated, however she’s already thought-about one of many biggest volleyball gamers of all time.
Ryo Kiyuna (Japan): Kiyuna is from the island of Okinawa, which is taken into account the birthplace of karate, and he is likely one of the favorites to win gold as the game seems on the Olympics for the primary time. The 31-year-old competes within the kata occasion, which is a solo self-discipline the place the athletes display varied varieties.
Kevin Durant (United States): Team USA has dominated males’s basketball since 1992, when NBA gamers had been first allowed to play and the “Dream Team” turned a world phenomenon. The Americans have received the final three gold medals and 6 of the final seven — solely developing brief in 2004. Durant, 32, is certainly one of two returning gamers from the group that received in 2016, and he’ll be appeared to for management and scoring. Durant led the group in scoring in 2016, and he averaged 34.3 factors within the NBA playoffs this yr.
Ariarne Titmus (Australia): The largest risk to Katie Ledecky’s dominance within the pool could possibly be Titmus, a 20-year Australian nicknamed the “Terminator.” Titmus defeated Ledecky within the 400-meter freestyle two years in the past on the World Championships. Ledecky was battling a abdomen virus on the time, however Titmus has solely gotten higher since then. She practically broke Ledecky’s 400-meter world record in June, ending simply .44 seconds off the tempo.
Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird (United States): If the US ladies’s basketball group wins gold — because it has in each Olympics since 1996 — then Taurasi, left, and Bird will grow to be the primary basketball gamers of any gender to win 5 Olympic gold medals. The two guards are two of the best ladies’s basketball gamers of all time. Taurasi, 39, is the WNBA’s all-time main scorer. Bird, 40, is the league’s all-time chief in assists.