Aussie Athletes You Need to Be Following at the Tokyo Olympics

Australian athletes olympics

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics have finally kicked off. It’ll be a Games like no other, with athletes missing the games due to COVID, a strange prison-like Olympic Village, and no crowds in the stadiums.

The lack of support from the in-person audiences and the struggles that athletes will have to overcome in order to just compete means it’s crucial that we all shout at our TVs as loudly as possible during the Games.

If you’ve got no idea what’s happening but you’re just happy there’s something fun to watch as the nation’s lockdowns roll on, here’s who you should be watching and when they’re on.

Aussie Aussie Aussie!

Ariarne Titmus

Swimming, women’s 400m freestyle final, Monday, July 26, 12.20pm

Coming in just 0.11 seconds short of the world record in the qualifiers, Ariane Titmus could be one of our standout gold-medal winners. Not only did she record one of the fastest times anyone has ever seen for the 400m, but she also did the same for the 200m.

We’re expecting big things from her in these races as well as the 4 x 200m freestyle relay. Her rival, American great Katie Ledecky, will also be competing in the same events. Hers are the records that 20-year-old Titmus nearly overturned. It’s going to be good.

Jess Fox

Canoe slalom, women’s kayak semi-finals, and finals, Tuesday, 27 July, from 3pm

One of our top athletes, Jess Fox is a beast in the water and will be looking to bring home the gold during the combined canoe and kayak events held together for the first time at Tokyo.

She managed a silver at London 2012 and a Bronze at Rio 2016 meaning the third time could be the charm for the seven-time world champion.

Australian athletes olympics
Jess Fox / Getty

Kaylee McKeown

Swimming, women’s 100m backstroke, semi-final, Monday, July 26, 12:55pm

Kaylee McKeown is another swimming champion in the making. She put in the fastest time in the world at the 100m backstroke during the qualifiers and was supposed to be competing in three events but has recently pulled out of the 200m individual medley due to a busy schedule.

She could well bring home gold in both the 100m and 200m backstroke and McKeown and Titmus are considered to be the rising stars of Aussie swimming.

Rohan Dennis

Cycling, men’s road race, Saturday, July 24, 12pm and men’s individual time trial, Wednesday 28 July, 3pm

Dennis is a hot medal contender for both of his cycling events. He missed out on a place at the Rio Games in 2016 due to a bike malfunction but won the 2019 time trial at the world championships. The 31-year-old has had a rocky few years with injuries and bike problems but 2021 could be his.

Sally Fitzgibbons

Surfing, Sunday, July 25, 8am

We’ve got our four strongest contenders placed in the Olympics debut of surfing but Sally Fitzgibbons is looking like our best shot. She won the World Surf League event in May and the Olympics final qualification in June.

All the surfing events will be taking place Sunday morning where you’ll also be able to catch Stephanie Gilmore, Julian Wilson and Owen Wright competing for Team Oz.

Stewart McSweyn

Running, men’s 1500m final, Saturday, August 7, 9:40pm, 5000m final, Friday, August 6, 9:00pm, and 10,000m final, Friday, July 30, 8:30pm

Stewart McSweyn is the fastest Australian man over 10,000 metres in history. He broke the record for Australian fastest mile at the start of the month, making him the fastest in the world for the past seven years.

Australia has not done well at track events of late and we haven’t won a medal since Athens, 2004. This could be a big year for us and for the speedy 26-year-old.

Rohan Browning

Running, men’s 100m final, Sunday, August 1, 10:50pm

Our best chance of making the men’s 100m finals and our second Olympian named Rohan, the 23-year-old sprinter posted a qualifying time of 10.05 seconds, putting him well within striking distance of a gold.

This is the first time we’ve had a runner in a 100m field event at the Olympics since 2004.

Ash Barty

Tennis, women’s singles, final, TBC, 30 July-August 1

Fresh off her victory at Wimbledon, Barty is looking hot and could be well in for gold. However, bookmakers are favouring world number one, Naomi Osaka, who is making her return to the game after taking time off for her mental health.

This one will be an incredible event to watch especially if she can claim victory over Osaka.

Ash Barty /Getty

Kyle Chalmers

Swimming, men’s 100m freestyle, Thursday, 29 July, 12:35pm
Chalmers could well be in for his second consecutive gold medal and become the first Aussie to ever do so.

The 23-year-old has some stiff competition, with American Caeleb Dressel pitted as the bookies favourite. Dressel has been part of Olympic gold-medal-winning relay teams in the past and has a number of world titles under his Speedos. Chalmers could make history here but it’ll be a close call.

Hayley Wilson

Skateboarding, women’s street, Monday, July 26, 10am

We’ve got strong entrants for the Olympic debut of skateboarding and we’re hoping that Wilson will be able to bring home the gold.

At just 19, she’ll be competing in the street event, which sees competitors run two 45 second performances where they have to pull off their most impressive tricks on a series of stairs, rails, walls, ramps, and benches.

Australian athletes olympics
Hayley Wilson/Getty

Nina Kennedy

Pole vault, women’s final, Thursday, August 5, 8:20pm
Kennedy is currently fifth in the world and holds an Aussie title for best Track Classic. For that record, she jumped a massive 4.82m in Sydney in March however the highest jump this year stands at an intimidating 5.93m.

Whether this is her year or not, at just 24, she’ll definitely be in the running for Paris 2024.

The Kookaburras

Field hockey, men’s tournament, Saturday, July 24, 10:30am

Our men’s hockey team are number two in the world right now and will start the competition against host nation Japan on Saturday.

They only managed to place sixth at Rio in 2016 but have performed extremely well over the past five years meaning 2021 could be the year they land the gold.

The Matildas

Soccer, women’s quarterfinals, Friday 30 July, TBC, 6pm-9pm

Led by Chelsea soccer legend, Sam Kerr, the Matildas are going for gold this year. They didn’t manage to get out of the group stages in Rio in 2016 but under the captainship of Kerr, they are looking like serious contenders this year.

The soccer tournament has already begun and Australia is off to a strong start with a two to one win over New Zealand on Wednesday. The men’s soccer team also managed a two to nil victory over Argentina on Thursday.

Australian athletes olympics
The Matilda’s with Sam Kerr front right / Getty

The Boomers

Basketball, men’s group b, Sunday, 25 July, 6:20pm

Seven NBA players make up the men’s basketball squad this year and they are led by our flag-bearer, Patty Mills. He is the first Indigenous Australian and Torres Strait Islander to carry the flag and our hopes are pinned on his team for a medal at this year’s Games.

We kick off against Nigeria on Sunday, with Germany and Italy to beat if we are to get out of the group stage. We managed a win over the Americans recently, meaning that we could seriously be in if and when we come to face them later in the tournament.

The Opals

Basketball, women’s group c, Tuesday, 27 July, 6:20pm

The women’s team are also looking very strong this year and could be well placed for our first-ever gold in the tournament. This is despite an upset with WNBA star Liz Cambage, who has dropped out of the Games due to mental health reasons.

It will be a tough tournament for the Opals without their star centre but the team is confident they can still pull it out of the bag this year. The Opals also beat America recently and have secured both silver and bronze at past Games.

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