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Opinion

Highlights to watch at the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games

(Photo by Mark Brake/Getty Images)
Roar Guru
22nd June, 2021
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1253 Reads

With regard to the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games, viewers will have their favourite sports to watch.

For myself, I have a bias towards watching athletics and swimming, the two sports that offer the most Olympics events and medals.

I also like other watching other physical sports like cycling, triathlon, rowing, canoeing, weightlifting, boxing and wrestling.

» Check out the full Tokyo Olympics schedule in Australian time

There are a number of Aussies and international athletes I look forward to watching at Tokyo, as they get their time to shine in front of one of sport’s largest global audiences.

From an Australian perspective, I am looking forward to watching our best running team in years, albeit no Australian is favoured to win a gold medal as was the case for Cathy Freeman (2000) and Sally Pearson (2012).

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While I pick Oliver Hoare as being Australia’s best medal chance (1500m), I am hoping a number of Australia’s middle or long distance Australian runners can challenge for top eight finishes or better, including Stewart McSweyn, Jye Edwards, Jessica Hull and Linden Hall.

Of our sprinters, perhaps only Rohan Browning (men’s 100m) has a rough chance to make the final.

Of course, there will be many highlights from the track and field events.

The track sprints are my favourite Olympics events to watch.

In the 100m, one of the Olympics’ most prestigious events, the USA’s Trayvon Bromell is favourite to win, having run the fastest time in the world during 2021 of 9.77. He has overcome a serious Achilles injury from 2016 after winning a bronze medal in the 2015 World Championships.

The amazing Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (Jamaica), now a mother, will be seeking a fourth Olympics 100m medal. having won gold in the 100m in 2008, gold in 2012 (silver in te 200m) and bronze in the 2016 100m.

On June 5, Fraser-Pryce ran the 10.63, the second-fastest time in history (with a legal wind).

Alison Felix (USA), another great athlete, is making her fifth successive Olympics appearance in an individual sprint event after winning silver in 2004 (200m), silver in 2008 (200m), gold in 2012 (400m) and silver in 2016 (400m).

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Wayde van Niekerk, who will be seeking to win his second Olympic 400m gold after breaking the world record in 2016 (watch the video below), qualified for the Olympics with a 44.56 on June 21. Very impressive considering he sustained a serious knee injury in a October 2017 charity tag rugby match.

Next up is swimming, Australia’s most successful Olympics sport.

With my longstanding interest in the freestyle events, Australia has great chances to medal in many events. With considerable depth this year, Australia will do well in the 4x100m and 4x200m relays.

In the men’s individual freestyle events, I look forward to watching Kyle Chalmers (100m and 200m) who is defending his Olympics 100m crown from 2016, Elijah Winnington (200m and 400m freestyle) off the back of his 3:42.65, and Jack McLoughlin (400m, 800m and 1500m freestyle).

The 100m freestyle clash between Kyle Chalmers and US superstar Caleb Dressel, winner of 13 individual and relay gold medals at the last two World Championships, could be the race of the meet.

At the 2019 World Championships, Dressel just beat the fast finishing Chalmers (46.96 to 47.08) in a classic you can watch below.

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Dressel is also favoured to win the 50m freestyle, the 100m butterfly and win gold in a number of relay events.

In the female freestyle events, Australia has many strong medal chances: Emma McKeon (50m, 100m and 200m), Cate Campbell (50m and 100m), and Ariarne Titmus (200m, 400m and 800m).

Australia’s chances in the female 100m freestyle have been boosted by the current Olympic and world champion Simone Manuel failing to make the US team in that event, despite having achieved a world leading 52.04 at the 2019 World Championships.

In the longer freestyle events, while we Aussies want Titmus to win her freestyle events, the great US freestyle swimmer Katie Ledecky will be competing in the 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m, thus seeking to add to her four individual gold medals from 2012 and 2016.

Ledecky won the 800m in 2012, and the 200m, 400m and 800m in the 2016 Olympics.

Of course, I will be watching all of the swimming finals where many Australians have a good chance to medal, including Kaylee McKeown who recently broke the 100m backstroke world record at the Australian Olympic trials.

In the track cycling, albeit the Olympics no longer includes my two favourite events (the 1km time trial and 4000m individual pursuit), I look forward to watching Matthew Glaetzer in the individual sprint after his fourth place at the 2016 Olympics and gold at the 2018 world championships.

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Glaetzer is another athlete who has had to overcome adversity given his recent bout with throat cancer.

The teams pursuit over 4000m will also be a highlight given Australia’s prowess over the years, albeit our main rival Great Britain won gold in 2008, 2012 and 2016 after Australia’s win in 2004.

In road cycling, Australia has Richie Porte (third in the 2020 Tour de France) in the road race, while Rohan Dennis has a medal chance in the time trial given his dual victories in the world championship (2018 and 2019).

In the team events, I look forward to watching Australia’s men and women in rowing, hockey, water polo, baseball, softball and rugby sevens.

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However, it is basketball that holds most interest for myself as the men try to emulate the women by winning their first ever Olympics medal after coming fourth in 2016.

While the USA men’s team will be very strong with many NBA stars, at this stage including James Harden, Kevin Durant, Devin Booker and Damian Lillard, Australia will also have a number of NBA players including Ben Simmons, Joe Ingles and Patty Mills.

Whatever your favourite Olympics sport is, the Tokyo 2021 Olympics will be another great global sporting event full of memorable performances, albeit sadly without much atmosphere given only small crowds will be allowed at best.

Enjoy.

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