11 Athletes Who Could Make the Tokyo Olympics Must-See TV
The Games of the XXXII Olympiad are just weeks away, with Tokyo finally getting its chance to host the postponed 2020 Summer Olympics.
From July 23 to August 8, the NBC networks and NBCOlympics.com will provide coverage of all the events—including the Olympic debuts of surfing, sport climbing and skateboarding, among other sports.
But which Olympians will be the talk of Tokyo and the world at large? We’d put good money on the 11 athletes below, who are bound for golden TV moments if not gold medals.
Had the Tokyo Olympics taken place as scheduled last year, this 12-year-old Syrian table tennis star would have been the youngest Olympian in more than a half century. Now she’s a year older, of course, and probably even better!
Not far behind Zaza in age is this 12-year-old skateboarding star competing for Great Britain. She’s been studying under legend Tony Hawk, and she was the first female skater to land a frontside 540 at the X Games.
Speaking of skateboarding, one of the skaters repping the U.S. is this 13-time X Games gold medalist with $1 million in career contest winnings to his name.
In 2019, this American sprinter ran 200 meters in 19.5 seconds, clocking the fourth-best speed in history and the fastest time in the event since the 2012 Olympics. He’s also the current world champion.
Fraser-Pryce is hoping to win her fourth straight Olympic medal in the 100-meter event. If so, she’d one-up fellow Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, who took gold in the men’s field three Olympics in a row.
After becoming the highest-paid female athlete ever—and making waves by prioritizing her mental health at the French Open—this tennis champ is set to make her Olympics debut, representing the host country Japan.
This Russian gymnast, who earned silver in Rio, became the first man to perform the triple back pike somersault in competition last April.
Hubbard, a weightlifter from New Zealand who won silver at the 2017 world championships, is set to become the first transgender athlete to compete in the Olympic Games.
This American swimmer and 13-time world champion has “the potential to win a half-dozen gold medals or more in Tokyo” and “real Phelpsian heights of stardom,” per NBC Olympics.
Zhu, who racked up 500 points at the last four major volleyball tournaments, could lead China’s women’s volleyball team to a record-tying fourth gold medal.
This list wouldn’t be complete, of course, without the greatest gymnast ever, who recently became the first woman to perform a Yurchenko double pike vault in competition. With five Olympic medals already in her possession, we can’t wait to see how much hardware the reigning all-around champion adds to her collection.