These stars will eye glory for their nation and hope to establish their legacy at the mega event.

After an agonizing wait due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Tokyo Olympics are finally in proximity with only a month remaining for the mega event. Thousands of athletes will step into the world’s greatest sporting event, with all aiming for the prestigious Olympic gold.

While some athletes have established themselves at the Olympics before, some would be eager to make their mark in Tokyo. With over 11,000 athletes set to take part, here are 10 Olympic hopefuls that deserve to be on your watchlist. 

10. Track and Field: Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (Jamaica)

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce is a six-time Olympic medalist

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce is one of the greatest and fastest sprinters in the history of athletics. A six-time Olympic medalist and nine-time world champion, she is a role-model to women everywhere. Along with her compatriot, Usain Bolt, she made the 100m podium at three consecutive Olympics from 2008-2016, winning twice.

After reclaiming the world title, she has a chance to make the podium for a fourth time at the Olympics. The ‘Mommy Rocket’ will bid for her third Olympic gold in Tokyo. 

9. Track and Field: Allyson Felix (USA)

She is a nine-time Olympic medalist with six gold and three silver medals. Allyson Felix, a 13-time World Championship gold medalist, will be competing at her fifth Olympics in Tokyo. At the 2016 Rio Olympics, she won two golds in the relay events and a silver in the 400m event.

Felix can become the most decorated US Olympic track and field athlete with two more medals. In doing so, she would break Carl Lewis’ record for the most number of Olympic medals by an American in the sport.

8. Swimming: Caeleb Dressel (USA)

A two-time Olympic gold medalist in the relay event, Caeleb Dressel will eye his first individual gold medal in Tokyo. In the wake of Micheal Phelps’ retirement, Dressel is the ‘next big thing’ in US men’s swimming. At the 2019 World Championships, he won a staggering eight medals in the event, breaking Phelps’ 100m butterfly record.

7. Gymnastics: Simone Biles (USA)

At Rio Olympics, Simone Biles won a record four gold medals

One of the greatest gymnasts of all-time, Simone Biles has always raised the bar. The 24-year-old is the most decorated gymnast with a combined total of 30 Olympic and World Championship medals. At the 2016 Rio Olympics, she achieved a spectacular feat by winning four individual gold medals.

Her medals came in the all-around, the team event, the vault, and the floor exercise. Moreover, she will enter the Tokyo Olympics to defend the Olympic all-around title, the sport’s most prestigious title. 

6. Wrestling: Abdulrashid Sadulaev (Russia)

Abdulrashid Sadulaev, also known as ‘Russian Tank,’ is widely regarded as the most dominant freestyle wrestler in the world. At the 2016 Rio Olympics, he won the 86kg freestyle gold medal.

However, he moved up to the 97kg weight class after Rio, which puts him in direct competition with USA’s reigning Olympic champion Kyle Snyder. The four-time world champion would look to win a second Olympic gold in Tokyo. 

5. Judo: Teddy Riner (France)

Teddy Riner will eye a fourth Olympic medal in Tokyo

Teddy Riner is widely considered as the greatest Judokas in the world. With 10 World Championship titles and 2 Olympic golds, Riner will enter his fourth Olympics eyeing a third gold. Only 11 Frenchmen have managed to win three titles at the Summer Olympics. Riner can join the elite group.

Moreover, if the Frenchman wins gold again, he will join Tadahiro Nomura on three Olympic titles. The 32-year-old will face competition from Japanese judoka Harasawa Hisayoshi, who lost to Riner in the 2016 finals. But, he will be hoping to capture gold in his home country. 

4. Mountain Biking: Nino Schurter (Switzerland)

Nino Schurter is a dominant cross-country mountain cyclist, who won gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics. In addition, the seven-time World Cup champion won silver at London 2012 and bronze at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Meanwhile, the 35-year-old will enter the Tokyo Olympics with the determination to defend his Olympic title. 

3. Athletics: Eliud Kipchoge (Kenya)

Eliud Kipchoge became the first athlete to run a marathon in less than two hours

Eliud Kipchoge has been described as the greatest marathoner of the modern era. The 2016 Rio Olympics gold medalist will have the opportunity to defend his title in Tokyo. If he manages to do so, he will become the third person in history to win the Olympic marathon twice. 

Notably, in 2019, he became the first human in history to run a marathon in less than two hours. Doing so, he clocked 1 hour and 59 minutes and 40 seconds. The world record holder will be tough to beat in Tokyo this year. 

2. Diving:David Boudia (USA)

A four-time Olympic medalist with a gold in Rio, David Boudia will enter his fourth Olympics in Tokyo. The 32-year-old is arguably the most successful American diver. While he might not be a medal favourite after suffering a concussion in 2018, his Olympic success shouldn’t be forgotten.

1. Badminton: Kento Momota (Japan)

Kento Momota missed the Rio Olympics due to a ban

Kento Momota will enter the Tokyo Olympics as the hometown favourite. The 26-year-old holds the record for winning the most men’s singles titles in a particular season. Notably, he won 11 titles in the 2019 season.

After missing out on the Rio Olympics due to a ban, the world No. 1 will hope to clinch the prestigious Olympic gold in his home nation.

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