Olympic rivalries to keep an eye on in Tokyo

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Rivalries do not need to be longstanding with regards to the Olympics. Nevertheless, that tends to make issues extra enjoyable in the event that they occur to be. Some are promising whereas others may simply be beginning out. Here is a have a look at some established and potential rivalries that could possibly be renewed or brewing on the Tokyo Summer season Video games. 

 

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Males’s basketball: United States vs. Spain

Wendell Cruz/USA TODAY Sports activities

The People are eying a fourth consecutive Olympic males’s basketball gold medal. With Kevin Durant (in search of his third gold) main the best way, plus Damian Lillard and Devin Booker additionally on the roster, it might be a shock if Crew USA did not prevail. That mentioned, Spain is the No. 2 staff on the earth and options veteran expertise in brothers Paul and Marc Gasol, plus guard Ricky Rubio. The Spaniards gained Olympic silver in 2008 and ’12 earlier than incomes a bronze medal in 2016.

 

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Males’s skateboarding: Nyjah Huston (United States) vs. Yuto Horigome (Japan)

Men's skateboarding: Nyjah Huston (United States) vs. Yuto Horigome (Japan)

Robert Hanashiro/USA TODAY Sports activities

Skateboarding is among the new sports activities added to the Tokyo Summer season Olympics program. And, it may be probably the most anticipated of the newcomers. Huston is arguably the largest and most well–known character within the sport and a four-time world champion within the Road competitors. Nevertheless, host favourite Horigome topped Huston in a current competitors that leads pundits of the game to imagine he may need the within monitor for gold in Tokyo this summer time. 

 

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Girls’s skateboarding: Sky Brown (Nice Britain) vs. Kokona Hiraki (Japan)

Women's skateboarding: Sky Brown (Great Britain) vs. Kokona Hiraki (Japan)

Brian Powers/The Register by way of Imagn Content material Companies, LLC/USA TODAY

No offense to Japanese medal hopefuls Misugu Okamoto and Sakura Yosozumi, however skateboarding followers would like to see these two younger sensations be within the hunt for the gold. Additionally from Japan, 12-year-old Hiraki may be an extended shot for gold, however she completed fifth on the ultimate Olympic qualifier — additionally a Dew Tour occasion — within the Park self-discipline. Brown, who will likely be 13 when these Video games begin, was born to a Japanese mom and British father. She’s among the many most fun skaters on the earth and needs to be within the hunt for an Olympic medal after recovering from a head harm following a severe coaching fall. 

 

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Girls’s soccer: United States vs. Japan

Women's soccer: United States vs. Japan

David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports activities

It’s normal information that the USWNT has some unfinished enterprise to handle in Tokyo this summer time after being shocked by Sweden in penalties within the 2016 quarterfinals at Rio. The People are little doubt the favourite to win gold, which they’ve gained 4 instances over the six tournaments in Olympic historical past. Whereas the U.S. has a stable mixture of seasoned veterans and a few up-and-coming, reliable expertise, host Japan, which introduced dwelling silver in 2012, is a considerably younger, however definitely hungry group that would probably make issues attention-grabbing.

 

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Softball: United States vs. Japan

Softball: United States vs. Japan

Jacob Snow/Icon Sportswire

Softball is again on the Olympic card. And america is trying to as soon as once more regain its place on the high of the worldwide softball pedestal. The People gained the primary three Olympic golds earlier than shedding to Japan within the 2008 ultimate — the latest Video games the game was held. It is anticipated that the U.S., with legends Monica Abbott and Cat Osterman on the roster, and host Japan will once more compete for gold among the many six groups within the subject. The 2 nations will meet within the group stage on July 26.

 

Women's Surfing: Carissa Moore (USA) vs. Stephanie Gilmore (Australia)

Robert Hanashiro/USA TODAY Sports activities

One other new sport to the Olympic docket is browsing. And, with regards to the ladies’s facet of the occasion, it needs to be fairly the one-two punch with regards to profitable gold. Hawaii-native Carissa Moore is the reigning world champion, and browsing consultants take into account her the favourite for gold in Tokyo. Nevertheless, Gilmore is a seven-time world champion and the queen of the cutback. There is not any doubt she’s been ready for this second. Ought to be enjoyable.

 

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Males’s males’s 4×100 medley relay: United States vs. Nice Britain

Men's men’s 4x100 medley relay: United States vs. Great Britain

Rob Schumacher/USA TODAY Sports activities

What’s exceptional is that america has gained gold within the 4×100 medley relay at each Olympics its taken half in because the inception of the occasion on the 1960 Video games. Whereas the American squad is definitely gifted with the likes of Ryan Murphy and Caeleb Dressel on board, Nice Britain topped the U.S. within the occasion on the 2019 world championships. Adam Peaty and Duncan Scott are two of the most effective on the earth, however have they got sufficient to finish the People’ reign within the 4×100?  

 

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Girls’s swimming 100-meter breaststroke: Lilly King (USA) vs. Yulia Efimova (Russian Olympic Committee)

Women's swimming 100-meter breaststroke: Lilly King (USA) vs. Yulia Efimova (Russian Olympic Committee)

Gian Mattia D’Alberto/LaPresse/Icon Sportswire

The rivalry between King and Efimova was primarily born through the 2016 Olympic Video games at Rio. King wasn’t glad about Efimova’s doping ban, gave a well-known finger wag, then went out and beat the Russian within the 100 breaststroke. Getting into the Tokyo Video games, King is the undisputed favourite whereas Efimova may be hard-pressed to problem for the gold. Nonetheless, getting one other probability to compete in opposition to King might make this one race to look at.

 

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Girls’s swimming 200-, 400- and 800-meters: Katie Ledecky (USA) vs. Ariarne Titmus (Australia)

Women's swimming 200-, 400- and 800-meters: Katie Ledecky (USA) vs. Ariarne Titmus (Australia)

Rob Schumacher/USA TODAY Sports activities

Ledecky is a five-time Olympic gold-medal winner and reigning champion in every the 200, 400 and 800. Nevertheless, sufficient worldwide swim analysts imagine the upstart 20-year-old Titmus might find yourself touching the wall forward of Ledecky in all three occasions at Tokyo that the Tasmania-born budding star has taken over as favourite. Titmus practically delivered a world-record efficiency within the 200 and 400 on the Australian Olympic trials and will have loads of confidence getting into these Video games — even with the mighty Ledecky in the best way. 

 

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Girls’s swimming 4×100 medley relay: United States vs. Australia

Women's swimming 4x100 medley relay: United States vs. Australia

Andrew Cowie/Colorsport/Icon Sportswire

The U.S. girls gained gold on this occasion at each the 2008 and ’12 Olympic Video games. However even with the likes of Lilly King main the cost for the People, a gifted Australian group may need what it takes to dethrone the U.S. in Tokyo this summer time. Aussie Cate Campbell thrives because the seemingly relay anchor whereas Kylee McKeown is among the many high backstroke swimmers on the earth. The U.S.-Australia rivalry within the pool is predicted to be fairly entertaining in Tokyo.

 

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Blended swimming 4×100 medley relay: Lilly King (USA) vs. Adam Peaty (Nice Britain)

Mixed swimming 4x100 medley relay: Lilly King (USA) vs. Adam Peaty (Great Britain)

Insidefoto/Imago/Icon Sportswire

One of many new occasions on the Tokyo swim program is the blended 4×100 medley relay. Two males and two girls will swim for every nation, protecting the 4 major strokes — backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly and freestyle. So, would not it’s one thing if King and Peaty, the 2 premier stars of the breaststroke on the earth, discover themselves head-to-head with the inaugural gold medal on the road? Olympics swim followers can solely hope.

 

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Males’s 100 meters: Trayvon Bromell (USA) vs. Ronnie Baker (USA) vs. Akani Simbine (South Africa) vs. Andre De Grasse (Canada)

Men's 100 meters: Trayvon Bromell (USA) vs. Ronnie Baker (USA) vs. Akani Simbine (South Africa) vs. Andre De Grasse (Canada)

Steph Chambers/Getty Photographs

Usain Bolt has left the Olympic stage, opening the door for a brand new star to emerge. Many dash pundits really feel Bromell could possibly be the man within the 100. After recovering from two Achilles surgical procedures to restore a bone spur, Bromell lastly seems prepared for prime time. That mentioned, fellow American Ronnie Baker shouldn’t be cast-off as solely a silver-medal favourite. To not point out, worldwide standouts in De Grasse, the 2016 Olympic bronze medalist, and the uber-talented Simbine — every seemingly worthy of difficult for the title of “quickest man on the earth.” 

 

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Males’s 200 meters: Noah Lyles (USA) vs. Erriyon Knighton (USA)

Men's 200 meters: Noah Lyles (USA) vs. Erriyon Knighton (USA)

Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports activities

There will likely be loads of eyes on Lyles, who enters his much-anticipated Olympic second as the favourite within the 200. He did not completely dominate on the U.S. monitor and subject trials final month, however we would be shocked if he wasn’t on high of his recreation for the 200 in Tokyo. Knighton, in the meantime, is a 17-year-old phenom who may be that one teen that captures the world with a celebrity displaying on the Olympics. It could not be a shock to see Knighton (who already has bested Bolt’s Below-18 data within the 200) push his American teammate for the gold this summer time.

 

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Males’s 400-meter hurdles: Rai Benjamin (USA) vs. Karsten Warholm (Norway)

Men's 400-meter hurdles: Rai Benjamin (USA) vs. Karsten Warholm (Norway)

Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports activities

Let’s take into account this extra of a possible upset particular than anything. Warholm is a world champion and record-holder within the 400 hurdles with a time of 46.70 seconds. That makes him a heavy favourite to win gold at Tokyo. However, Benjamin has continued to progress to an elite stage and will significantly problem Warholm. Thus, probably making a rivalry that would develop into fairly particular. 

 

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400-meter girls’s hurdles: Sydney McLaughlin (USA) vs. Dalilah Muhammad (USA)

400-meter women's hurdles: Sydney McLaughlin (USA) vs. Dalilah Muhammad (USA)

Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports activities

This may be the race to look at over the complete girls’s monitor and subject program at Tokyo. Muhammad gained gold within the 400 hurdles on the 2016 Summer season Video games. McLaughlin, nonetheless, now holds the world report within the occasion (51.90 seconds) after she edged Muhammad within the ultimate of the U.S. monitor and subject trials final month — besting her teammate’s mark by 0.26 seconds. Assuming every little thing falls into place for the 2 People, the ultimate of the 400 hurdles at Tokyo needs to be appointment viewing.

 

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Males’s tennis: Roger Federer (Switzerland) and Novak Djokovic (Serbia)

Men's tennis: Roger Federer (Switzerland) and Novak Djokovic (Serbia)

Susan Mullane/USA TODAY Sports activities

Between them, Federer and world No. 1-ranked Djokovic have gained practically 40 Grand Slam titles. However, two of males’s tennis’ better of all time will strive once more to win Olympic singles gold for the primary time. These two, together with Andy Murray, spotlight the boys’s Olympic tennis subject this summer time at Tokyo. It could appear extremely possible that Federer and Djokovic might sq. off within the gold-medal match with their very own private historical past on the road.

 

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Girls’s tennis: Naomi Osaka (Japan) vs. Coco Gauff (United States)

Women's tennis: Naomi Osaka (Japan) vs. Coco Gauff (United States)

Susan Mullane/USA TODAY Sports activities

There will likely be no Williams’ sister vying for Olympic gold in Tokyo. Nevertheless, Osaka’s return to the court docket is among the largest non-American storylines at this yr’s Summer season Video games. After pulling out of the French Open for a mental-health break, the 23-year-old Osaka would be the star attraction for the house nation. The 2-time U.S. Open champ is favored to win singles gold. The 17-year-old Gauff is the marquee title on the American squad and it might be one thing to see the 2 sq. off with an Olympic gold medal on the road.

Jeff Mezydlo has written about sports activities and leisure on-line and for print for greater than 25 years. He grew up within the far south suburbs of Chicago, 20 minutes from the Mascot Corridor of Fame in Whiting, Ind. He’s additionally the proud father of 11-year-old Matthew, aka “Bobby Bruin,” mascot of St. Robert Bellarmine Faculty in Chicago. You possibly can comply with Jeff at @jeffm401.



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