With the 2020 Olympics now officially (and controversially) underway in Tokyo, here are the eleven U.S. athletes that give the United States a great chance to shimmer in gold.
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A year after the games were supposed to take place, the Tokyo Games are finally underway. With the pandemic far from under control in Japan, the threat of athletes being pulled and overnight-cancellation of the Games is very real. But assuming they go off without a hitch, here are the 11 United States athletes to watch for, and who should add some gold medals to the Stars & Stripes.
Simone Biles, Gymnastics
In Rio in 2016, Biles won 5 medals, 4 of which were gold. Heading into her second Olympics, Biles is expected to clean up once again. In both the team and the individual competitions, Biles should walk away with at least the same amount of gold medals as last time, if not more. We are witnessing the greatest gymnast of all-time, and we should appreciate her before she’s gone.
Kevin Durant, Basketball
The U.S. has dominated international basketball for decades, with one major blemish; the 2004 Olympics. That is the only Olympiad we haven’t won the gold at since 1992, and with Kevin Durant leading the way there’s now way we could lose this year… right? With losses to Nigeria and Australia leading up to the games, there is a lot of anxiety with USA Basketball, but they still should be able to bring home the gold medal.
Diana Taurasi, Basketball
While the men’s side has some question marks about whether or not they can capture the gold, there is little doubt on the women’s side. Diana Taurasi is leading the U.S. women for the fifth time, and aiming to bring home a fifth gold medal. With the help of Sue Bird, Brittney Griner and Breanna Stewart, the expectations for the U.S. women are gold or bust.
Megan Rapinoe, Soccer
Speaking of expectations for the U.S. women being gold or bust, we arrive at Megan Rapinoe. From Mia Hamm, to Abby Wombach before her, Rapinoe has become the face of U.S. women’s soccer and is looking to reclaim the gold medal after failing in 2016. Off of the momentum of winning yet another World Cup in 2019, the U.S. should dominate.
Bryson DeChambeau, Golf
If you like golf, then you either love or hate Bryson. But whichever camp you fall into, you have to admit that he hits bombs. The course in Japan will be long, and should favor the golfers who hit the ball far. And Bryson hits it faaaaar. After winning the U.S. Open in 2020 and winning the match last month, Bryson should feel good about his game and arrive in Tokyo with a great chance of bringing the gold medal back to the United States for the first time since 1900.
Caleb Dressel, Swimming
Being dubbed the next Michael Phelps, Dressel comes to Tokyo with lofty expectations. He has his sights set on potentially seven medals, with his main events being the 50 & 100 M freestyle and the 100 M butterfly. Will he prove to be worthy of being mentioned in the same breath as Phelps? That’s hard to say, but there is no doubt that Dressel will be draped in red, white, blue and gold by the time these games are over.
Katie Ledecky, Swimming
Another dominant U.S. athlete in the pool is Ledecky. Entering her third Games, she has six medals including five gold. She made her debut in London in 2012, and looked to be tracking towards one of the greatest U.S. olympians ever, and went on to add four more gold medals in Rio in 2016. Look for Ledecky in the distance events, as she is looking to add four more gold medals in the 200, 400, 800 & 1,500 M freestyle events.
Nyjah Huston, Skateboarding
With 2021 marking the first time that skateboarding is a part of the summer games, Nyjah Huston enters with high expectations. He’s the #1 ranked skateboarder in the world and has a global platform to show the world that the sport is bigger than just Tony Hawk. Look for Huston to take home the gold medal.
Kyle Snyder, Wrestling
In 2016, Snyder became the youngest wrestler in United States history to win a gold medal at just 20, and he’s back to defend his title. In the 97kg weight class, Snyder should be considered a favorite to win the gold. Being only 25, the future is bright for Snyder in the Olympics.
Allyson Felix, Track & Field
Felix is entering her fifth Olympics, which is almost unheard of in track & field. It’s one thing for basketball players like Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird to be in five Games, but for a runner it’s an incredible achievement. Felix will be in the 400 meter dash, as well as a 4x400 meter relay. While winning gold in the individual race could be a stretch, look for Felix to help a relay team win the gold.
Noah Lyles, Track & Field
With Usain Bolt out of the picture, the sprinting world is looking for someone to fill his spikes; that person could very well be Noah Lyles. He enters as the favorite to win the gold in the 200 meter dash, and we’ll see just how close he can get to that world record.
While these eleven U.S. athletes provide us great opportunities to win gold medals, there are many other athletes who can and will win medals, and bring us national pride. Go Stars & Stripes!