Athletics is here, the number one sport of the Tokyo 2020 Games. The biggest sport with 2038 entries from 196 countries. We have one new event, a mixed 4×400 m relay comparing to Rio 2016 what makes it 48 events. For the last time, a 50 km walk will be held for men.
In Rio 3 World records were registered with London 4 and before that Beijing: 5, Athens: 2, Sydney: 0 (first games without WR since 1948), Atlanta: 2, also 5 WR in Seoul 1988 and 6 WR in Moscow 1980). In Tokyo, chances in 3-5 events. Results from Rio was better than London, which was far higher than at the previous two Olympics. Based on World Athletics scoring, Rio got 195 953 points ahead of London 195 146 points over Beijing 191 749 and Athens 190 871. The world-leading mark was achieved 30 times in London and 17 times in Rio.
TOKYO (JPN): It is one more year than usual so more winners from Rio missing. It is 14 men (16 events as Bolt and Farah doubled) and 9 women, in total 23 individual winners not competing for different reasons from the overall number of 43 individual events, more than 50%.
Missing Bolt, Rudisha, Farah, C. Kipruto, McLeod, Clement, Drouin, Henderson, Taylor, Ch. Harting, Nazarov, Rohler, Eaton, Wang Zheng, among men. And Semenya, V. Cheruiyot, Ayana, Sumgong, R. Jebet, McNeal, Beitia, Bartoletta, Carter among women. From London winners in Rio only 3 men were missing and 11 women (majority of them 5 Russians who could not compete).
From London winners competing are individually 4 men Kirani James, Stephen Kiprotich, Renaud Lavillenie, Keshorn Walcott and 8 women Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Allyson Felix, Brittney Reese, Olga Rypakova, Valerie Adams, Sandra Perkovic, Anita Wlodarczyk and Barbora Spotakova.
TOKYO (JPN): Spanish walker Jesus Angel Garcia is heading for his 8th Olympic appearance and so be on top of this list of all-time. Untouchable is the best woman Merlene Ottey who was at 7 Olympic Games.
French discus thrower Melina Robert-Michon goes for 6th participation the highest from all women here. Russia competes with 10 athletes (ANA status) as ROC, also Refugee Team for the second time after Rio. So far 99 countries have won medals in athletics at Olympics.
SHORT EVENT BY EVENT PREVIEW FOR TOKYO 2020
100 m: Bromell looks obvious, but Baker is a dark horse. Surprise from Jacobs?
200 m: Who is challenging World champion, Lyles? Young Knighton or experienced De Grasse. What about kung-fu Bednarek and African/NCAA Fahnbulleh.
400 m: Three equal chances, we predicted before Rio, and it was a solo. But this time really open. Gardiner is the champ, but Van Niekerk, Norman, James are back in shape.
800 m: Before London, it was Rudisha against the clock. Now it is very open, Amos leads the lists, but that is not the main point. World champ Brazier missing. Dobek to surprise.
1500 m: Even if slow and tactical, who can beat Timothy and Jakob? Also, Olympic record possible if they dare.
5000 m: We will see who runs after 10 km from the likes of Kiplimo or Cheptegei. Clearly, the dark horse is Katir, possibly Wale.
10 000 m: Huge trios from Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda. Anyone of them.
Marathon: Kipchoge is determined. Desisa is the fighter.
Steeple: Looks for a first non-Kenyan win since 1980. El Bakkali against Ethiopians.
110mH: King Holloway looks to be OK, behind him big fight for medals with Ortega, Shubenkov and Jamaicans. Or home surprise Izumiya?
400mH: The expected duel Warholm vs Benjamin. Will they break the global mark? They only clashed twice, and both times won the Viking (Zurich and Doha 19).
HJ: Before Rio, we expected Barshim vs Bondarenko, and said: “Are we underestimating Drouin?” Will it be Nedasekau poker or Gimbo show or Barshim routine or ANA jumpers or super-jumper Harrison?
PV: Everybody expects Mondo Duplantis to rule, in Rio home, Braz surprised Renaud, who will it be this time without ill Kendricks? Obiena looks to be the surprised man.
LJ: Gayle is the World champ, Echevarria with the biggest potential, but Tentoglou leads the lists. Harrison will be after the high jump.
TJ: Without Taylor, Pichardo and Zango to fight for gold. Bronze is very open.
SP: So far no world champion has won the Olympics, that looks not to change as Crouser is the huge favourite. Not to forget that Walsh and Kovacs surprised him in Doha. Olympic record is very possible.
DT: Stahl´s position was during the season very clear. Young Ceh and Gudzius with Dacres want to achieve something too. First 70+ throw in the history of the Games?
HT: Polish affair (Fajdek, Nowicki) spoiled by US Winkler? Lance Deal last US men hammer medal 25 years ago in Atlanta. Bigot, Kokhan, Halasz European challenge.
JT: Vetter in any shape looks to be unbeatable and should break Thorkildsen´s Olympic record. Big open fight for the rest of the medals.
Dec: Warner on paper, Mayer on emotions.
20 km w: Can here Karlstrom and Spanish walkers do something against Asian power (JPN+CHN)?
50 km w: Very last one. Toth to defend, Japanese and Chinese walkers know how to cope with the heat. Diniz with last Olympic chance also.
4×100 m: In Rio, it was Jamaica vs. the USA for gold and world record possible. This time let’s include also Japan, Britain, Canada, South Africa and Italy.
4×400 m: Here US dominance should continue. Surprise from Colombia and Trinidad.
100m: Fraser-Pryce knows how to be in championship shape. That should be enough. Although Thompson-Herah and Asher-Smith will be against.
200 m: Here the position of Asher-Smith should be better against Jamaicans. Darke horse Thomas, will Shaunae run?
400 m: This time it could be more obvious for Shaunae. McPherson leads Jamaicans, surprise from Paulino?
800 m: One of the toughest to predict. Almanza looked good on the circuit. Young Mu leads on the paper, but it will be her first international meet with senior athletes (not to mention Minsk 19).
1500 m: Kipyegon showed top shape during the season. Hassan wants to attack, the same as Muir.
5000 m: Obiri in her double, but Hassan in her treble plan – but this will be their first event this time. Still, Tsegay could be the lucky third.
10 000 m: Here Gidey will play the role of Tsegay from 5 km and Obiri and Hassan will be at the end of their Tokyo route. In Rio, we saw an unexpected WR.
Marathon: Time to make things right, in Rio initially Kenya won the first women marathon Olympic gold, then lost it in the laboratory. This time Kosgei, Jepchirchir and Chepngetich can do it.
Steeple: Coburn, Krause, Yavi are great, but possibly not enough for Kiyeng and Chepkoech.
100mH: As WR holder Harrison missed Rio. Now her barrier to gold has the name, Jasmine. Olympic record to go, or even more?
400mH: McLaughlin in big solo for WR or Muhammad with Bol will challenge her? Olympic record nearly for sure.
HJ: Yaroslava against Mariya. But Vashti can spoil the party. Darkhorse McDermott.
PV: Sidorova as World champ, Nageotte and Morris are there also. Stefanidi to defend.
LJ: Will 7 meters jumps from the US play a role (Klishina, Malone, Brume) or we stay with obvious choices Mihambo, Spanovic and Reese.
TJ: Rojas can beat only Rojas. She chased the WR the whole year. Another target could be the Olympic record 15.39, Caribbeans for the rest of the medals.
SP: Adams could make history. Gong wants to win also. Dongmo and Ramsey to surprise.
DT: Flag bearers Perkovic and Perez to fight. Allman could beat them, but she is not the surprise type of Brown-Tafton in 2008 due to her results level.
HT: Price as World champ and list leader, Wlodarczyk knows what to do.
JT: Andrejczyk and Hussong with the top season, Spotakova is well-motivated, but Chinese and their shape is the mystery.
Hep: Tricky to predict. We did not see much from stars Katarina and Nafi. Are we getting an Austrian-Hungarian surprise? Or Bougard for the first US win since JJK?
20 km w: Who can beat Chinese walkers? Maybe South America?
4×100 m: Jamaica looks so strong. The USA then and surprise from Germany or Netherlands or Britain.
4×400 m: The USA looks unbeatable, Jamaica can come close, Poland and Netherlands for bronze.
4×400 mix: For the first time, still looks for the USA, Dominican Republic selected strong names, Jamaica obviously. Olympic record for sure. Also, WR is possible.