Biggest Stars at the Tokyo Olympic Games
The Summer Olympics always gather the best athletes in the world. Despite the chaotic nature of sports recently, the 2020 Tokyo edition won’t be an exception to this rule.
We will have an opportunity to watch exceptional men and women compete against each other in different sports. Everyone who earned a place in the Olympics deserves respect and admiration, of course, but you simply can’t miss watching certain athletes.
I already compiled a list of the top Tokyo 2020 events and it’s time to share the top 9 biggest stars at the Olympics. I’ve picked only one athlete per sport, so the post is not dominated by NBA players.
Another important disclaimer is that the list is subjective and reflects my personal opinion. I’m sure that other people would select at least a few different athletes.
Kevin Durant – Basketball
Several NBA stars deserve to be on this list and picking only one was a hard job. The likes of Giannis and Luka Doncic might be the better choice, but we don’t know for sure if they will play in the Tokyo basketball tournament.
Their nations have to qualify first and even if that happens, they might decide to take a rest. Since Team USA was announced, I decided to pick Kevin Durant.
He was absolutely phenomenal for the Brooklyn Nets in the playoffs and almost carried them to a victory over the Bucks despite the injuries of Kyrie Irving and James Harden.
Durant was inches away from one of the greatest shots in his career.
Durant looked hungry and close to his best, so I expect more of the same from him in Tokyo. Team USA will almost certainly win another Olympic gold and KD should be the star of the tournament.
Naomi Osaka – Tennis
Many tennis stars will miss the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and that’s a shame, but a lot of top players WILL be there. Local hero Naomi Osaka is the one to watch there and she is eager to win a gold medal on home turf.
Many view the Japanese superstar as Serena Williams’ heir to the throne in female tennis, but Osaka has been struggling off the court.
She retired from the 2020 French Open because of mental health issues and had problems in her personal life that derailed her career a few times.
The good news is that Osaka is still young and a win in Tokyo could give her a huge boost.
Simone Biles – Artistic Gymnastics
Can anyone stop the magnificent Simone Biles at Tokyo 2020? She already has a bunch of medals from Rio and has been the dominant force in artistic gymnastics in all big tournaments, including world championships.
She is the overwhelming favorite for the all-around individual title, Team US is expected to win the gold in the team event, and Biles will be a threat in pretty much every other discipline.
It’s interesting to see how the American performs and she could cement her place as one of the greatest Olympians ever in Tokyo.
Armand Duplantis – Pole Vault
I’m sure that many readers haven’t heard of Armand Duplantis, and I suspect this could change dramatically after the Tokyo Olympics.
The young Swedish athlete is a pole vaulter and his achievements at the age of 21 suggest he will go down as one of the sport’s greatest.
Duplantis already beat both the indoor and the outdoor world records, dethroning the iconic Sergey Bubka in the process. If he can reach new heights during the 2020 Olympics, the Swedish athlete could be one of the biggest stars in Tokyo.
Sam Kerr – Soccer
Team USA is the big favorite in women’s soccer at the Olympics and the squad is full of star players that could have made the cut. And yet, the success of the side is built on teamwork, so I decided against it and selected Sam Kerr instead.
The Australian striker had an awesome season with Chelsea and was nominated for the PFA Players’ of Player of the Year award.
Australia was knocked out in the quarterfinals after penalties in Rio and I expect more this time around.
Caeleb Dressel – Swimming
When a swimmer is compared to the likes of Michael Phelps and Mark Spitz, you should pay attention. Caeleb Dressel has two gold medals in relay events from Rio 2016 and he is expected to win several more this time around.
He has potential in multiple events, both individual and relays. Many believe that Dressel could come close to the achievements of the greatest athletes in the sport, so the potential to become one of the biggest stars of the Olympics is there.
If you’re betting on swimming at the Olympics, Dressel is definitely one to watch.
Kaori Icho – Wrestling
Another Japanese star that’s set to shine in Tokyo makes it on this list. Many believe that Kaori Icho is the greatest female freestyle wrestler in the history of the sport and her endless list of medals makes a good case for that.
She has four gold medals from previous Olympic games and ten World Championship titles. Icho was undefeated on the mat between 2003 and 2016 which is one of the most sensational achievements in the sport.
Icho might be in the last stage of her career at the age of 37, but you simply can’t underestimate a champion of this caliber, especially at home. That’s why the wrestler is among the athletes to watch at the 2020 Olympics.
Noah Lyles – Athletics
Technically, I’m breaking my own rules because I’ve already added a guy from athletics. There are many disciplines in the sport, though, so let’s make an exception.
Many view Noah Lyles as the successor of Usain Bolt as the fastest man in the world and the early signs suggest that might be the case.
The American has been awesome since 2019 and we saw some exceptional performances by him that year.
Lyles already qualified for the 200 meters event at the US trials, and I expect him to be the main favorite in 100 meters, too.
Pat McCormack – Boxing
Team Great Britain has plenty of elite athletes that will be competing for gold in Tokyo and the boxing group is especially strong.
Pat McCormack is the biggest UK star in this sport and many believe that he should dominate the welterweight division. That won’t be an easy task, but the Brit will surely be one of the most entertaining athletes in the 2020 Olympics.
I was planning to add a second list of honorable mentions, but it would’ve been endless. There are so many interesting stories and exciting athletes at the Olympics that I decided against it in the end.
I’m sure that new names will also emerge and one of my fellow writers has a list of the young athletes that could leave a mark in Tokyo, so check that out too.
If you want to share your views on the best athletes to watch in the 2020 Olympics, feel free to use the comments below.