Skip To Content
  • Go for Gold badge
  • Tokyo Olympics badge

Here Are 21 Incredible Athletes To Watch For At The Summer Olympics

Going for gold!

The Tokyo Olympics are upon us, which means it's time to take a closer look at some athletes to keep a close eye on this summer.

Olympic rings illuminated on the water
Carl Court / Getty Images

1. Katie Ledecky (Swimming)

Katie Ledecky smiling while in the pool
Al Bello / Getty Images

United States swimmer Ledecky heads into the Summer Olympics with five gold medals earned during her impressive career.

She will participate in five different events, and if she can win all five, she will become the winningest female Olympian ever.

2. A'ja Wilson (Basketball)

A'ja Wilson on the basketball court
Srdjan Stevanovic / Getty Images

If you don't follow the WNBA, Wilson has become a dominant force and the 2020 MVP. She will represent the USA women's basketball team.

3. Megan Rapinoe (Soccer)

Megan Rapinoe in USA soccer jersey
Omar Vega / Getty Images

Rapinoe will be going for her second gold medal — her first win was in 2012, and she is still playing at a high level.

4. Noah Lyles (Sprinting)

Noah Lyles cheers while he runs with a baton
Patrick Smith / Getty Images

Aside from a Youth Olympic Games gold medal, this will be Lyles' first chance to capture a medal at the Olympics. Gold will be tough, but don't be surprised if Lyles outruns the competition.

5. Adeline Gray (Wrestling)

Adeline Gray in USA wrestling gear
Harry How / Getty Images

Hailing from the United States, Gray is a five-time — FIVE-TIME — world champion in wrestling. All that gold, but she still lacks Olympic gold. At 30, this wrestling phenom might be looking at her last chance to capture the elusive Olympic gold, making her story one of the most interesting at the Games.

6. Simone Manuel (Swimming)

Simone Manuel smiles in her swim gear
Maddie Meyer / Getty Images

In 2016, Manuel earned two gold and two silver medals. Fun fact: She was the first African American woman to ever win gold in swimming. Expect her to add more to her collection this summer.

7. Eliud Kipchoge (Long-Distance Running)

Eliud Kipchoge holds the Kenyan flag
Dean Mouhtaropoulos / Getty Images

Long...distance...running. This Kenyan long-distance runner makes a marathon look like a Sunday-morning stroll. As one of the older competitors at the Olympics, Kipchoge is not slowing down for anyone.

8. Allyson Felix (Sprinting)

Allyson Felix with her hands on her hips
Steph Chambers / Getty Images

A not-so-secret weapon for the United States, Felix has helped the United States win five relay gold medals. She has nine Olympic medals, and if she can get one more, she will have the most in track-and-field history.

9. Sydney McLaughlin (Hurdling and Sprinting)

Sydney McLaughlin runs past hurdles
Marco Mantovani / Getty Images

I can barely get off the couch without a bone cracking, but McLaughlin can run and jump and probably chew gum all at once (I don't suggest doing that). She is the current world-record holder in the women's 400-meter hurdles, which she ran on June 28.

10. Naomi Osaka (Tennis)

Naomi Osaka holds up silver trophy
Matthew Stockman / Getty Images

Maybe the biggest story of the Olympics will be the appearance of Osaka, who has skipped the past two majors to focus on her mental health.

11. Sky Brown (Skateboarding)

Sky Brown on a skateboard going down a skate park pool
Sean M. Haffey / Getty Images

It's hard to see there being a bigger story than 12-year-old Brown. Skateboarding is new to the Olympics, and it doesn't get much "newer" than a kid pulling off some sick moves.

12. Misugu Okamoto (Skateboarding)

Misugu Okamoto grinding her skateboard on the edge of a skate park pool
Sean M. Haffey / Getty Images

Hometown kid Okamoto, at 15, is also representing youth as well as Japan. She has won three qualifying events leading up to the Olympics and is bound to have some tricks up her sleeve for the Summer Games.

13. Nyjah Huston (Skateboarding)

Nyjah Huston in a black-and-green "Monster" hat
Sean M. Haffey / Getty Images

Huston is drowning in X Games gold (12 total) and is the face of the United States in skateboarding. It's only fitting that three skateboarders are on this list, because it will be a thrilling debut for this sport in the Summer Games.

14. Masahiro Tanaka (Baseball)

Masahiro Tanaka pitches baseball in a New York Yankees uniform
Mike Stobe / Getty Images

One of the under-the-radar athletes at the Olympics is New York Yankees pitcher Tanaka, representing Japan. Talk about an ace on the mound...Japan is looking at a run for gold.

15. Cat Osterman (Softball)

Cat Osterman poses with softball and glove while wearing USA shirt
Harry How / Getty Images

Coming out of retirement, Osterman looks to help Team USA win gold. It will be interesting to see how the lefty pitcher performs.

16. Xander Schauffele (Golf)

Xander Schauffele smiles while holding his putter
Cliff Hawkins / Getty Images

There will be plenty of talent in the Olympics golfing field, but watch out for this American. Schauffele has finished in the top 10 in all four majors but has failed to grab a major title. What a story this could be if he wins Olympic gold. 

17. Luka Doncic (Basketball)

Luka Doncic dribbles a basketball while Kawhi Leonard defends
Pool / Getty Images

Slovenia's first appearance in Olympic basketball is thanks to NBA star Doncic. Although the team is far from deep, it will be fun to watch a player like Doncic go up against the best countries' teams and see how they approach defending him. 

18. Kevin Durant (Basketball)

Kevin Durant wearing a USA basketball shirt
Ethan Miller / Getty Images

Durant has his eyes set on a third gold medal, and after a major upset against Nigeria in an exhibition, you can bet he will push Team USA to another level.

19. Rui Hachimura (Basketball)

Rui Hachimura reaches for basketball while wearing a Japan uniform
Lintao Zhang / Getty Images

Basketball is going to be fun this summer. Japan has a potential star in Hachimura and will be a blast to watch. The Washington Wizards young gun had 13.8 points per game and 5.5 rebounds.

20. Carissa Moore (Surfing)

Carissa Moore carrying her surfboard
Sean M. Haffey / Getty Images

Surfing has arrived at the Summer Olympics, and so has Moore. The Hawaii native is a Hall of Famer in the surfing world. As a four-time World Surf League champion, she has a legitimate shot at winning gold.

21. Simone Biles (Gymnast)

Simone Biles poses in front of the American flag
Emilee Chinn / Getty Images

The well is dry. There is little more that can be said about Biles. It's her show this Olympics, and it is less about gold and more about the legacy. Even if you aren't into gymnastics, you should tune in to appreciate the work she puts into her craft.

Which athlete are you most excited to see at the Summer Games? What event are you most excited to watch? Comment below!