Footballer Megan Rapinoe is the latest high-profile athlete to earn a place at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. She was named to a 18-strong US squad, which will travel to the Japanese capital next month with a fifth Olympic title in sight.
With just a month to go until the Opening Ceremony gets underway, GiveMeSport Women looks at five of the biggest names who have already qualified for Tokyo 2020.
The 35-year-old Rapinoe will be heading to her second Olympic Games. It could have been her fourth if not for injury – the midfielder missed out on Beijing 2008 and Rio 2016 after tearing her ACL on two separate occasions.
Rapinoe was one of the stars of the women’s football tournament at London 2012, helping the US to its fourth Olympic title. She scored three goals and racked up an impressive four assists.
The US struggled at Rio 2016, finishing fifth. Rapinoe will be hoping to emulate her performances from London and help her nation reclaim its place at the top of the Olympic rankings.
Dina Asher-Smith is likely to be one of Britain’s shining lights on track and field this summer. The 25-year-old has already competed at the Olympics, clinching a bronze medal in the 4×100 metre relay at Rio 2016.
She has come on in leaps and bounds since then, and is now widely considered one of the best sprinters in the world. This status was consolidated at the 2019 World Athletics Championships, where Asher-Smith won gold in the 200m and silver in the 100m.
Asher-Smith will also be gunning for gold across both distances at Tokyo 2020. Excitement is particularly building around the 100m, which will feature a number of star names.
Another contender for the 100m will be America’s Sha’Carri Richardson. The 21-year-old has set the sprinting world alight since turning professional in 2019. She is now the sixth fastest woman in history, recording a time of 10.72 in April.
Richardson qualified for Tokyo 2020 last weekend, powering to the Games in 10.86. In an emotional interview afterwards, she thanked her family for their support and encouragement.
With brightly coloured hair and a penchant for long nails, Richardson brings a whole new dynamic to women’s sprinting. She will be competing at her first Olympic Games in Tokyo, but expect it to be the first of many.
At just 24-years-old, Katie Ledecky has qualified for her third Olympic Games. The swimmer was 15 when she competed at London 2012, making a name for herself with a gold medal in the 800m freestyle.
Four gold medals followed at Rio 2016, but Ledecky will be aiming to go one better at Tokyo 2020. She is set to compete in the 200m, 400m, 800m, 1500m individual freestyle and the 4x200m freestyle relay at the Games, and could become the first American woman to win five golds at one Olympics.
Kirby will be part of the British team contesting the women’s football tournament at Tokyo 2020. It will be her first Olympics, although this is mainly because Team GB rarely send a women’s football squad to the Games.
The 27-year-old has been in stunning form for Chelsea this year, returning from a serious illness to score 18 goals and rack up 11 assists for her club. Her attacking prowess helped Chelsea retain the Women’s Super League title and reach the final of the Champions League.
Kirby is now considered one of the most exciting footballers about, and she will be looking to prove herself on the international stage this summer.News Now - Sport News