Athletics world records are rather common at the Olympics as athletes keep pushing their limits for that one moment of glory at the top of the podium at the biggest stage.
Over the years, some of the greats of the sport have left a thumping impression at the Olympic Games. Athletes such as Usain Bolt, Carl Lewis, David Rudisha, Florence Griffith Joyner and Anita Włodarczyk have brought their A-game to the quadrennial games and smashed the world records in their respective events.
The buzz with the Tokyo Olympics is no less. Many athletes across different events in both track and field disciplines have been in cracking form in the lead-up to the Games. There could thus be quite a few athletes looking to break world records.
Here's a quick look at some events, where the existing world records could be in danger at the Tokyo Olympics:
#1 Men's Shot Put
Men's shot put has become a very competitive event since the emergence of Ryan Crouser (USA), Joe Kovacs (USA) and Tom Walsh (NZL). Ryan Crouser smashed the Olympic record with a throw of 22.52 meters at Rio to win a gold medal. The 2019 World Athletics Championships was a treat for athletics fans as Crouser, Kovacs and Walsh came close to Randy Barnes' long-standing world record of 23.12 meters.
Both Crouser and Walsh threw the 7.26 kg iron ball to a distance of 22.90 meters. Kovacs launched the ball to a distance of 22.91 meters with his final throw to pip both Crouser and Walsh to win the gold medal.
Ryan Crouser, however, has been in much better shape leading up to Tokyo. He recently crossed the 23-meter barrier for the first time in his career and will be fully pumped up to smash that world record mark at the Tokyo Olympics.
#2 Women's 100 meters sprint
Of all the athletics events at the Olympics, the 100 meters is one of the top-billed events. At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, it was Usain Bolt who stole the show by clocking a world record time of 9.69 seconds in the men's 100 meters. This time around, it is the women who have been in world record-breaking shape, with the main contenders being Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica and Sha'Carri Richardson of the USA.
The current world record belongs to the late Florence Griffith Joyner who breezed past the finish line in the heats of the US Olympic trials of the 1988 Olympics with a mind-boggling time of 10.49 seconds. Many female sprinters over the years have conceded that this world record of FloJo (as she is fondly called) can never be broken. But this time around the buzz surrounding the women's 100-meter sprint is quite remarkable.
Sha'Carri Richardson has been sprinting times of 10.8 and under with utter ease with her best being 10.72 seconds. Meanwhile, 34-year veteran Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce has found her best form in the twilight of her career. She became the 2nd fastest woman on earth when she blazed past the finish line with a timing of 10.63 seconds at the National Stadium in Jamaica on June the 5th.
It might take something of the magnitude of a world record to win the tag of sprinting queen at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
#3 Men's 400-meter hurdles
The current men's 400-meter hurdles world record belongs to US legend Kevin Young, who won the gold at the Barcelona Olympics with a spectacular timing of 46.78 seconds. Since 1992, many world-class 400 meter hurdlers have come and gone but no one really challenged the world record set by Kevin Young. Only recently have the likes of Karsten Warholm of Norway and Rai Benjamin of the USA come close to the world record mark.
Karsten Warholm has been a phenomenon over the last four years. He won gold medals at the 2017 and 2019 World Athletics Championships in this event. Rai Benjamin, meanwhile, has been pushing the Norwegian athlete to his limits in many of their head-to-head clashes. The clash between Karsten Warholm (Personal Best: 46.87 seconds) and Rai Benjamin (Personal Best: 46.98 seconds) at the Tokyo Olympics will surely decide the gold.
#4 Women's Triple Jump
The women's triple jump is an event where currently only one athlete, Yulimar Rojas of Venezuela, has been threatening to break the current world record. The current world record belongs to Inessa Kravets of Ukraine, who jumped to a distance of 15.50 meters at the 1995 World Athletics championships.
Rojas has been in some terrific form in the lead up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. She's been jumping distances of 15.35 meters plus since the 2019 season and her current best stands at 15.43 meters which she achieved on 22nd May 2021. One can notice the spring in her stride every time she steps on the runway. We can expect her to smash the world record and take the gold at the Tokyo Olympics.
#5 Women's 10,000 meters
One of the clashes at the Tokyo Olympics will surely be the face-off between current world record holder Letesenbet Gidey of Ethiopia and Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands. On the 6th of June, 2021, Sifan Hassan broke Almaz Ayana's world record of 29 minutes and 17.45 seconds with a timing of 29:06.82 minutes.
Cut to 8th June, Letesenbet Gidey smashes Sifan Hassan's 2-day old world record with a timing of 29:01.03 minutes at the same venue! The two long-distance runners will go head to head at the Tokyo Olympics and we really expect some fireworks from both. Whether Tokyo's humid conditions will permit a sub-29 minutes timing at the Olympics needs to be seen, but as fans, our excitement levels will surely be high.