Team GB head into the Tokyo 2020 Olympics somewhat in limbo. Having won a record 67 medals, including 27 golds, at Rio 2016, it seems they might be more difficult to come by over the next few weeks.
Stars of past Games Mo Farah, Nicola Adams and Alistair Brownlee, who won four golds between them in Rio, are not competing. Team GB’s cycling line-up, one of its strong suits in recent times, lacks its usual pedigree and features 16 Olympic debutants.
However, there are medal hopefuls for fans back home to be excited about, and City A.M. has selected 10 who have a strong chance of getting on the podium at Tokyo 2020.
Dina Asher-Smith – 100m and 200m
The golden girl of British athletics. The 25-year-old exploded into the public consciousness with superb performances over both 100m and 200m at the World Championships in Doha in 2019, winning silver and gold respectively.
She looked to be peaking at the right time going into 2020, but a year’s delay has not caused her too much trouble going by recent performances. Will expect to have at least one medal around her neck when she arrives back at Heathrow.
Adam Peaty – breaststroke
Should build on his extraordinarily impressive breakout Games in 2016. Expect Adam Peaty to lead the Team GB medal charge.
The eight-time world champion claimed gold on his Olympics debut in Rio five years ago in the 100m breaststroke, breaking his own world record in the process. He then added silver as part of the men’s 4x100m medley quartet.
He has gone from strength to strength since Rio and claimed four golds in May’s European Championships.
Peaty, who says he feels like he grows 10 per cent at the Olympics, holds the top 20 times in the history of men’s breaststroke.
Seonaid McIntosh – shooting
The Edinburgh-born shooter is going into the games as the current 50m prone rifle world champion.
She heads to the Asaka shooting range on the back of three World Cup medals in 2019, including Britain’s first ever gold.
As the current world No1, McIntosh should be a strong medal hopeful for Team GB. Would not be a surprise to see her develop something of a cult following.
Max Whitlock – pommel horse
One of those who has survived the brutal, extended five-year cycle from the last Olympics and heads into these games with a real chance of replicating past performances.
Will be looking to add to his five Olympics medals, including the two golds he won in Rio at the pommel horse and the floor exercise.
His last outing in a major final almost ended in calamity after nearly falling from the pommel horse at the start of his routine. On his day the clear favourite in the field.
Katarina Johnson-Thompson – heptathlon
Going into these Olympics in a strong position to compete for a medal and make up for past disappointments following a poor overall showing in Rio.
Her high-profile split from long-term coach Mike Holmes following the 2016 Games led to her moving to Montpellier to be coached by Bertrand Valcin.
It spurred her on to win the heptathlon at the World Championships in Doha two years later and she continues to lead a strong looking field.
Liam Heath – canoeing
One of Team GB’s many success stories in Rio and comes into this Olympics as a real gold medallist hopeful.
Heath became Team GB’s most successful ever canoeist in 2016 after winning gold in the K1 200m event and silver in the K2 200m event. He also won bronze in the K2 200m event at London 2012.
Held the grand slam of canoeing titles (Olympics, Worlds and European) in 2017 and has only been beaten once at the K1 200m since then.
Jade Jones – taekwondo
Jade Jones is the best in the world at what she does.
The Welsh taekwondo superstar is a double Olympic gold medallist at the women’s 57kg category and also the 2019 world champion.
She is within touching distance of immortality, as gold here would make her the first triple taekwondo champion in Olympics history.
Sky Brown – skateboarding (new event)
Skateboarding is set to be front and centre of the spotlight this year as it makes its inaugural Olympic appearance at Tokyo 2020.
One of the major attractions will be Team GB starlet Sky Brown, who only turns 13 this month.
Do not let her age fool you, however. Brown qualified third and came third in the World Championships in Sao Paolo in 2019.
Helen Glover and Polly Swann – rowing
The Helen Glover story is one of the best you will find in all of sport.
Having claimed gold in 2012 and 2016, the rowing superstar retired to start a family, but – like Steve Redgrave before her – she has come back for more.
Glover and her new partner, Polly Swann, waltzed to European gold in April. Glover will be hoping her fairy-tale will have a happy ending.
Pat McCormack – boxing
Adams’ success in Rio papered over the cracks for British boxing in 2016; it was an otherwise relatively below par showing.
Welterweight star Pat McCormack heads to Tokyo hoping to better his round-of-16 exit last time out.
The Sunderland-born fighter won gold in Minsk at the 2019 European Championships and was denied gold at the World Championships that same year by a split decision.
He comes into the games on the back of gold medal success in Paris at the European Boxing Qualifiers last month.