The summer Toyko Olympics is growing ever closer, and there is already a sense that this could be one of the best summers of sport we have ever seen. Tokyo showed their dedication to sport, in general, this year as it played host to the Rugby Union World Cup.
Rugby isn’t a sport that you generally associate with the Japanese, but they thrived. Fans became captivated with it, and it surely helped their case that their own team did extremely well to reach the quarterfinals.
However, next year it will be back to more common sports that they are engaged with, but what events could take on a life of their own in Tokyo next year?
For the first time ever there will be medals up for grabs in skateboarding. It was one of the five sports that was introduced for this Olympic Games, and there will be four events featuring 80 athletes. All the events will be housed at the Ariake Urban Sports Park, and there will be both men’s and women’s medals for the taking.
Both genders will have gold, silver and bronze medals available for both park and street events. There will also be history made when Team GB will take their youngest ever Olympian to the games when Sky Brown represents Britain aged just 11.
Rugby is already a sport that the Japanese have fallen in love with, and that love affair only looks set to continue next summer with the highly entertaining rugby sevens event. These gold medal matches last year were among the most-watched around the world. Australia won the women’s gold, while there was first ever-Olympic gold for Fiji as they beat Team GB in the men’s event.
The men’s event particularly captivated the world, as the whole of Fiji stopped for the history-making achievement. The success at the last Olympics meant that its inclusion was an inevitability, and it could be shot into the stratosphere further in Japan.
The success that it achieved in 2016 has already ensured that the HSBC World Sevens Series is achieving record-breaking attendance, and another strong showing here could further accelerate its growth.
The USA will be one of the leading contenders for medals in this field, as they have quickly taken to the sport due to the similarities between sevens and American Football. However, there isn’t a crowning event like the SuperBowl, which means the Olympic gold medal is the pinnacle of the sport.
There was a massive change in the landscape of men’s athletics following the 2016 Olympics, and this will be the first one since Usain Bolt walked away from the sport. The title of the quickest man on earth will need to be picked up by somebody, and there are a host of leading names.
Bolt captivated the sport for so long that it almost seemed impossible that it could survive without him. However, it will have to do just that, and this will be the first opportunity since his retirement for somebody to take the sport by the scruff of the neck and show they are now the leading man in the field.
Christian Coleman could be that man, but he will face an almighty challenge from Andre De Grasse and Justin Gatlin. One this is for sure: there will be enough pace to rival the best stallions in the Kentucky Derby race.
The women’s events have also grown in interest with the long-standing leader in the sprint field Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce coming to the end of her career.
She will be looking for one final Olympic title but could face stern competition from Dina Asher-Smith. There are so many questions that need answers, and that will make it unmissable.