The 2020 Olympics will finally get underway in Tokyo this week, but it will be a very different Olympics. Unfortunately, no crowds will be allowed to attend and there have been a number of major sporting stars withdraw from the event in Japan. However, there will be plenty of talent on show and a brilliant two weeks of action can still be expected.
Can Team GB better their Rio record?
Team GB enjoyed its most successful Olympics since 1908 five years ago in Rio, returning with an impressive haul of 67 medals. They go to Tokyo with a team of 376 athletes and have set a target of securing more than 50 medals. However, where GB was once very strong in cycling and athletics, these events could see a significant drop in the medals obtained, putting the 50-medal mark in doubt.
But who could bring back gold for Team GB?
Adam Peaty could get Team GB off to a flying start. There would be a major shock in the pool if Adam Peaty failed to defend his 100m breaststroke title, which he won in Rio, starting Team GB’s 2016 gold rush. The owner of the 20 fastest times in history in the event, and having powered to below the 57 seconds mark, we can expect Peaty to get the party started again in Tokyo.
Can the Kenny’s bring success in the velodrome?
Jason and Laura Kenny will hope to add to their Olympic gold medal haul in Japan and have a great chance to do so. The husband-and-wife duo are experienced in what it takes to secure the big prize and will compete across a number of different events in the velodrome.
Laura Kenny will race in the Madison and Team Pursuit, but her best chance of gold might come in the Omnium, which she won in Rio. If Kenny is successful, she will become the first British female to win gold at three successive Olympics.
Jason Kenny is taking part in his fourth Olympics and already has seven gold medals to his name. He has won the last two Olympic sprint titles. Although age might not be on his side this time, he knows how to peak for this event.
Jade Jones goes for a third Olympic title
Jade Jones was a teenager when she won her first Olympic tae kwon do gold at the London Olympics in 2012 but followed up that success in Rio four years later. She is now 28 and the reigning world champion, so comes into the competition as the hot favourite to secure an unprecedented third consecutive Olympic title.
Can Shauna Coxsey scale new heights with a gold?
Climbing will take part at the Olympics for the first time ever and Team GB have hopes of a gold medal in the shape of Shauna Coxsey. As part of her training, Coxsey built a climbing wall named ‘the beastmaker’ in her basement and has been practising with her husband, fellow climber, Ned Feehally.
Now at the Olympics, she will be tested on three types of climbing: speed, in which two athletes race against each other up a 15-metre wall; bouldering, which comprises tackling fixed routes on a 4.5-metre wall; and lead climbing, in which competitors have to get as high as possible up a 15-metre wall within a specified time. While Slovenian Janja Garnbret should take gold, twice bouldering World Cup winner Shauna has been working on the other two disciplines to be an all-round threat.
Can Team GB better their seven athletics medals from Rio?
An 80-strong athletics team returned from Rio with seven medals, but Mo Farah, Jessica Ennis-Hill, Greg Rutherford and Sophie Hitchon, who won the individual medals that year, won’t be around in Tokyo.
This time hopes rely on the shoulders of Dina Asher-Smith in the 100m and 200m, while Laura Muir goes for gold in the 1500m. Elsewhere, Holly Bradshaw carries hopes in the pole vault and Katarina Johnson-Thompson aims for glory in the heptathlon.