Tokyo Olympics: Women’s Soccer, Basketball & More U.S. Favorites and New Faces

Carli Lloyd soccer
Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

One of the most exciting parts of any Olympic Games is watching more seasoned athletes pass the proverbial torch. For the U.S. women’s soccer and basketball teams, it’s the formula for success.

The soccer squad, which has scored four golds in the past six Olympics, returns to avenge its 2016 non-podium finish in Rio, counting on the feet of vets Megan Rapinoe (who’s 36), new mom Alex Morgan (32), and Carli Lloyd (39), who qualified for her fourth Games. But we’ll also see new twentysomething stars Rose Lavelle and Sam Mewis.

A similar situation plays out in women’s basketball, winners of eight golds in the past nine Olympics. “You could not have more experienced leadership in Diana Taurasi, Sue Bird, and Breanna Stewart,” says Tirico of the veteran ballers, but he’s excited to watch first-timer A’ja Wilson, the WNBA’s 2020 MVP too.

Other faces to keep an eye on: High-flying Hannah Roberts is favored to win gold in BMX freestyle. Archer Brady Ellison, a three-time medalist nicknamed “the Prospector,” looks to finally mine gold.

A'ja Wilson basketball

A’ja Wilson (Credit: Getty Images)

Five-time wrestling world champion Adeline Gray hopes to move past her shocking quarterfinals defeat in Rio. And Alexander Massialas, the first U.S. man to win an individual medal in foil fencing since 1960, attempts to do one better than the silver and bronze he earned in 2016.

2020 Tokyo Olympics, Opening Ceremony, Friday, July 23, NBC