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Watch out for these 5 track & field athletes at the Tokyo Olympics

Juvaughn Harrison at the 2020 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials
Juvaughn Harrison at the 2020 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials

The Tokyo Olympics has a lot of interesting athletes to watch - across events, age spectrum and ranging from Olympic debutants to experienced athletes. Here are some of the best.

Juvaughn Harrison - high jump and long jump at the Tokyo Olympics

Juvaughn Harrison is one of the most fascinating athletes to watch at the Tokyo Olympics. He is perhaps the only athlete to be performing at such a high level in both the high jump and the long jump, around the world.

He won the US Olympic Trials in both events, something that hasn't happened since the legendary Jim Thorpe did so over a hundred years ago.

Thorpe, of course, was out of the world, winning both the pentathlon and the decathlon in addition to making the finals of the long jump and high jump at the 1912 Olympics. Juvaughn Harrison will be looking to emulate Jim Thorpe by at least medalling in the two distinct events at the Tokyo Olympics.

He is still very young and a collegian and has a long way to go.

Juvaughn Harrison's World Athletics rankings for his two events for 2021 are modest. But he's a likely medal shot in both the high jump and the long jumps given his current form. He's also very likely to get even better in the future.

It would be quite exciting to watch such a young athlete perform at his maiden Olympics at Tokyo.

Sydney McLaughlin - favorite for gold in the 400m hurdles at the Tokyo Olympics

Sydney McLaughlin at the 2020 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials
Sydney McLaughlin at the 2020 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials

Sydney McLaughlin set a world record enroute to winning the 400m hurdles event at the US Olympic Trials. Even if you knew nothing else, that's enough to pick her as the favorite to win the gold in her event at the Tokyo Olympics.

The smoothness of her victory suggests she may have something special at the Tokyo Olympics or beyond as it didn't look like she was stretching despite setting a world record.

Although she's a professional athlete, she is still very young and was a collegiate athlete till 2018. This will be her second Olympic appearance. She missed the 400m hurdles finals at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

But she won silver in the 400m hurdles event at the 2019 World Athletics Championship at Doha. She also won a gold as part of the 4*400m relay team at the same meet. She will be looking to add to her medal kitty at the Tokyo Olympics and looks in fine form to do so.

Allyson Felix - outside shot for a 400m medal at the Tokyo Olympics

Allyson Felix will be making her 5th Olympic appearance at the Tokyo Olympics. She already has 9 Olympic medals - 6 gold and 3 silver and twice that total from multiple World Championships.

While 5 of her 6 Olympic gold medals are from relay events, she is also an individual gold winner at the 200m event in the 2012 London Olympics. She's a true legend in running and has nothing left to prove.

She has been a mainstay of the US women's relay teams and may well medal at the Tokyo Olympics in the relays too. She also has an outside chance of an individual medal in the 400m event at the Tokyo Olympics.

Even if she doesn't, her legacy is secured by her incredible performances till date. That makes her a must watch athlete at the Tokyo Olympics.

Allyson Felix at the 2020 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials
Allyson Felix at the 2020 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce - favorite for a 100m medal at the Tokyo Olympics

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce has 6 Olympic medals - 2 gold, 3 silver and a bronze. Like Allyson Felix, she also has a host of medals from various World Championships.

She has represented the Jamaican challenge to US dominance in global sprint events over the last decade or so. This will be her 4th appearance at the Olympics.

Shelly Ann Fraser Pryce at the 2019 World Athletics Championships at Doha
Shelly Ann Fraser Pryce at the 2019 World Athletics Championships at Doha

Despite her age, especially for a sprinter, she is in the shape of her life as shown in her performances 2021 Jamaican Trials for the Tokyo Olympics. There, she won both the 100m and the 200m events. She's justifiably at the top of the World Athletics rankings for women's 100m for 2021.

Given that she has set her personal bests for both the 100m and 200m only a month ago, she might well medal at both events at the Tokyo Olympics.

Tajay Gayle - long jump at the Tokyo Olympics

Tajay Gayle became Jamaica's first ever long jump world champion at the 2019 World Athletics Championships at Doha. At the time, his performance was unexpected as he set a personal best to upset the favorite, Juan Miguel Echevarria of Cuba.

While that remains Tajay Gayle's longest jump till date, he's in fine form as he showed at the Diamond League meet in Monaco on 9 Jul 2021.

Tajay Gayle at the 2019 World Athletics Championships at Doha
Tajay Gayle at the 2019 World Athletics Championships at Doha

Although he didn't win gold at Monaco due to how the Diamond League finals are decided, his was the longest jump. Tajay Gayle also represents a rare, non-running track and field star for Jamaica and is favorite for the gold at the Tokyo Olympics.

Also read: Shelly Ann Fraser Pryce - Three supermoms at Tokyo Olympics

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Edited by Rohit Mishra
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