Tokyo 2020 Olympics: Five athletes experiencing highs and lows with a year to go

By Sports Desk July 24, 2019

With just a year to go until the Olympics gets under way in Tokyo, athletes from all over the world already have gold medals in their sights.

Many are well on course to mount a strong challenge for glory, while others may consider themselves a long way from where they need to be.

With 12 months to go until the opening ceremony, excitement is building and over 3.2 million tickets have been sold.

We take a form check on five of the stars who could prove the big draws in Japan.

 

SIMONE BILES

Superstar Biles will retire from gymnastics after attempting to add to her medal tally in Tokyo.

Fitness permitting, it would be a surprise if the 22-year-old does not increase her haul of four Olympic golds and one bronze medal.

The American declared she will quit as "I feel like my body is kind of falling apart".

Biles put on another masterclass to win the women’s all-around title at the GK U.S. Classic last Saturday and eyebrows will be raised if she does not achieve more podium-topping success in her swan-song Games.

ADAM PEATY

Exceptional British swimmer Peaty continues to hit new heights, shattering world records and winning gold medals galore.

It was mission accomplished in the 24-year-old's quest to achieve 'Project 56' at the World Championships in Gwangju this month when he became the first person to dip under the 57-second barrier for the 100 metres breaststroke.

That record swim of 56.88secs ticked off one of Peaty's biggest goals and he has by no means finished yet.

The Englishman has raised his total of World Championships titles to six and the Olympic 100m breaststroke champion will be expected to be on the top step of the podium at least once in Tokyo.

 

CASTER SEMENYA

The Olympics might not be at the forefront of all-conquering South African athlete Semenya's mind at the moment.

Semenya has endured a complicated, drawn-out saga in a case involving world governing body the IAAF which has raised worries for her career.

The double Olympic 800 metres champion is awaiting a Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland verdict over whether she can continue to run against women over two laps of the track.

Semenya has long been challenging the IAAF's decision to impose restrictions on testosterone levels in women competing at distances ranging from 400m to one mile. The Swiss court has suspended that restriction for now.

Semenya's testosterone count is high but naturally occurring. It could see her sidelined if she refuses to take medication to reduce her level, unless the courts come down on her side.

The 28-year-old has not let the ongoing case affect her performances, setting the fastest 800m time by a woman on American soil of one minute and 55.70 seconds at the Diamond League meeting in Stanford last month.

 

CHRISTIAN COLEMAN

What is certain at the Games next year is that the men's 100m athletics gold is up for grabs, in the absence of Usain Bolt.

Bolt retired after the World Championships in London two years ago with eight Olympic gold medals to his name.

It is not the Jamaican legend's old rival Justin Gatlin - Olympic champion in 2004 - who is rated as the favourite to take Bolt's crown next year.

World champion Gatlin's fellow American Christian Coleman appears to be the man to beat, leading the way in the Diamond League and establishing himself as the top-ranked male sprinter on the planet.

 

RORY MCILROY

McIlroy was criticised for stating he would not watch the return of golf to the Olympic calendar three years ago in Rio, after opting out of the competition.

The four-time major champion cited the Zika virus as his reason for not teeing off in Brazil, where Justin Rose won the first Olympic golf event for 112 years.

However, Northern Irishman McIlroy stated he could not pass up the opportunity to be an Olympian next time around.

The former world number one will be hoping it is a case of 'what a difference a year makes' in terms of his summer form, having failed to make the cut at The Open in his homeland at Royal Portrush last week.

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