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Athletics: Tokyo Olympics 2020-2021

Athletics: Tokyo Olympics 2020-2021

The flagship event of every Olympic Games, Athletics, will usher in the second week of the sporting extravaganza. Having been held at every single Olympic Games in the Modern Olympics, Athletics is a discipline that embodies all three words of the Olympic Motto. 

Men's Athletics began at the 1896 games with 12 events. Women's Athletics events began with the Amsterdam 1928 Olympics. At the time, only 5 events (100 m, 800 m, 4x100 m, High Jump, Discuss Throw) were held. 


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At the upcoming Olympic Games, a whopping 47 events will have medals up for grabs (24 men's events, 22 women's events, and 1 mixed event). The most successful nation in Athletics at the Olympics is the USA with 797 Medals (334 Gold, 259 Silver, 204 Bronze). 

Team USA Announces Men’s Track and Field Roster for the Tokyo Olympics

Allyson Felix, with 9 medals and the potential to compete in three more at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, can draw level with Carl Lewis as the most decorated track and field athlete from the States. A single medal will help here. However, she can also draw level with the Games' most successful track and field athlete. i.e. Finland's Paavo Nurmi. He claimed 9 medals (6 Gold, 3 Silver)

Athletics at Tokyo 2020

The Tokyo Olympics 2020-2021, will see a monstrous 47 events take place. This is an increase from Rio 2016 as the 4x400 mixed relay will take place. It will be the maiden mixed event in athletics at an Olympic Games. 

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The likes of David Rudisha, Mo Farah, Usain Bolt, and Justin Gatlin will not board the plane to Tokyo. However, there will still be some stellar names who could capture it all and herald in the dawn of a new era in their sports. On the flip side, there are still some established stars who would look to bow out in style. Who are they?

Top Names to watch out for in Track events at the Tokyo Olympics

 Allyson Felix, appearing at her fifth Olympic Games, will attempt to finish her Olympic career on a high. A convincing performance in the solo event could see her appear at the maiden mixed relay, thus granting her a shot at all-time Olympic glory. 

Team USA Announces Women’s Track and Field Team for the Tokyo Olympics.

Other top American names set to take to the track in the women's events include Javianne Oliver, Gabby Thomas, Jenna Prandini, Quanera Hayes, Athing Mu, Ajee Wilson, Cory McGee, Emma Coburn, and Kendra Harrison. 

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In the women's sprint events, a name to watch out for is Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce. The Jamaican sprinter will take to the track for her fourth Olympics. Frayser-Pryce clocked the second-fastest 100m among women. Sifan Hassan will seek to claim a medal for the Netherlands at the Olympics when she takes to the track in the 10000 m event. 

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In the men's events, America will be represented by the likes of Noah Lyles, Grant Holloway, Trayvon Bromell, Ronnie Baker, Michael Norman, Clayton Murphy, Bryce Hoppel, Cole Hocker, Paul Chelimo, and Ray Benjamin.

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In the men's track events, all eyes will be on Canada's Andre De Grasse. Having shared the podium with sprint legend Usain Bolt in 2016, he could be in a prime position to make the leap to a higher spot. 

Uganda's Joshua Cheptegei will compete in the men's 5,000 m & 10,000 m. He will look to justify his tag as the world record holder in both events and make a mark at his Olympic debut. Also, team USA's 43-year-old Abdi Abdirahman will look to defy age and seek a maiden medal on his final trip to the Olympic Games. He will compete in the 10,000 m event.

Top Names to watch out for in Field events at the Tokyo Olympics

In the women's field events, team USA will see the likes of Vashti Cunningham, Katie Nageotte, Sandi Morris, Brittney Reese, Keturah Orji, Tori Franklin, Valarie Allman, Jessica Ramsey, Maggie Malone, and DeAnna Price. 

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In the men's field events, team USA will see the likes of Darryl Sullivan, Shelby McEwen, JuVaughn Harrison (he became the first Team USA member to qualify for both High Jump and Long Jump since 1912), Sam Kendricks, Marquis Dendy, Steffin McCarter, Ryan Crouser, Will Claye, and Rudy Winkler. 

Read More: “Things Change”: Allyson Felix Opens Up on Her Potential Retirement After Tokyo Olympics 2021

Sweden's Armand Duplantis (21) will look to convert his medals at the European and world championships at his maiden Olympics. 

Competition Format

The format of each event differs as per the number of competitors. For example, the men's 100m sprint event comprises a preliminary stage, followed by heats before the semi-finals and the final. Meanwhile, endurance events such as the 10,000 m, marathon, and the distance walking events see all the qualified athletes begin their quest for gold directly from the final. 

Track events comprise heats and field events kick off with the qualifying round that serves as a semi-final of sorts. 

Types of Athletic events at Tokyo 2020

Athletics range from a multitude of events across track and field. 

Track events include endurance races like the 5,000 m and 10,000 m. Furthermore, short sprints and 100 m, 200 m, 400 m, and 800m test the speed of athletes over short distances. Middle distance events like 1500 m, 5000 m, and 10,000 m serve as endurance sprints. Road events like the marathon and the distance walk are also prominently featured at the Olympic Games. 

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 Other sprint events include obstacle races like hurdles and the steeplechase. The 100 m sprint and the 4x100 m relay remain the flagship track events. 

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Field events include jump and throw events. Jump events feature the likes of Long Jump, High Jump, Triple Jump, and the Pole Vault. Meanwhile, throw events feature the likes of Shot Put, Discuss Throw, Javelin Throw, and the Hammer Throw. Furthermore, there are some athletes who participate in a combination of these events, i.e. Heptathlon and Decathlon. 

The Heptathlon includes the 100m hurdles, 200m, 800m, Long jump, High Jump, Shot-Put, and Javelin Throw. The Decathlon includes the 100m, 400m, 110m hurdles, 1500 m, High Jump, Long Jump, Pole Vault, Shot Put, Discuss Throw and Javelin Throw. 

Schedule for the Tokyo Olympics 2020-2021 Athletics events

The Tokyo Olympics 2020-2021 Athletics events will take place at the National Stadium which will also host the opening and closing ceremonies. Given that it is an outdoor stadium, the schedule can be subject to change based on weather. 

Men's Athletics Event Schedule: Tokyo 2020

Event PreliminaryQualificationHeatsSemi-finalFinal
100mJuly 31-July 31August 1August 1
200m--August 3August 3August 4
400m--August 1August 2August 5
800m--July 31August 1August 4
1500m--August 3August 5August 7
5000m--August 3-August 6
10000m----July 31
110m hurdles--August 3August 4August 5
400m hurdles--July 31August 1August 3
3000m steeplechase--July 30-August 2
4x100m relay--August 5-August 6
4x400m relay--August 6-August 7
Marathon----August 8
20 km walk----August 5
50 km walk----August 6
Long Jump-July 31--August 2
Triple Jump-August 3--August 5
High Jump-July 30--August 1
Pole Vault-July 31--August 3
Shot Put-August 3--August 5
Discuss Throw-July 30--July 31
Javelin Throw-August 4--August 7
Hammer Throw-August 2--August 4
Decathlon----August 4 & August 5

Women's Athletics event schedule: Tokyo 2020

100 m--July 30July 31July 31
200 m--August 2August 2August 3
400 m--August 3August 4August 6
800 m--July 30July 31August 3
1500 m--August 2August 4August 6
5000 m-July 30August 2
10000 m--August 7
100 m hurdles--July 31August 1August 2
400 m hurdles--July 31August 2August 4
3000 m steeplechase--August 1-August 4
4x100 m relay--August 5-August 6
4x 400 m relay--August 5-August 7
Marathon----August 7
20 km walk----August 6
Long Jump-August 1--August 3
Triple Jump-July 30--August 1
High Jump-August 5--August 7
Pole Vault-August 2--August 5
Shot Put-July 30--August 1
Discuss Throw-July 31--August 2
Javelin Throw-August 3--August 6
Hammer Throw-August 1--August 3
Heptathlon----August 4 & August 5


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Mixed Athletics Events at the Tokyo Olympics 2020

4x400m RelayJuly 30July 31

Venue for Athletics at Tokyo 2020


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Athletics events will feature in the National Stadium in Tokyo. However, the marathon and distance walking events will feature in Sapporo City. 

VenueNational Stadium, Sapporo City (Marathon and Distance Walking events)
DateJuly 30-August 8
ChannelPeacock TV (US), BBC iPlayer (UK), Eurosport Player (Europe), TSN (Canada), Channel 7 (Australia), Sony LIV (India)
Total Players from each country1,000+ expected
Most medals in the sportUSA 797 Medals (334 Gold, 259 Silver, 204 Bronze)