Tokyo 2021 Olympics: Dates, Event Schedule and Medal Predictions

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJuly 19, 2021

United States' Kevin Durant shoots over Australia's Matisse Thybulle during an exhibition basketball game Monday, July 12, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
John Locher/Associated Press

Competition at the Tokyo Olympics kicks off Wednesday with a few team sports getting group play underway prior to the opening ceremony.

Over the next two weeks, 33 sports will feature in events across Japan, from track and field and swimming to equestrian and fencing.

The United States enters the Olympics with a handful of superstars already on its roster in Kevin Durant, Simone Biles and Megan Rapinoe.

As is the case with every Summer or Winter Olympics, a few new stars will emerge over the next few weeks thanks to medal-winning triumphs.

The United States should come away with the most medals from Tokyo. Both basketball teams, the women's soccer squad and Biles in gymnastics are viewed as the top medal favorites from the American contingent.

The full Olympic schedule can be found here on the NBC Olympic website.


Medal Predictions

USA Men's Basketball Finds Way to Win Gold

The struggle of the USA men's basketball team is one of the top storylines going into Japan.

Gregg Popovich's team lost its first two warm-up games to Nigeria and Australia before righting the ship and downing Argentina and Spain in Las Vegas.

The squad as a whole is undermanned because Devin Booker, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday are still competing in the NBA Finals, and Bradley Beal was forced out of the Olympics because of health and safety protocols.

However, the USA roster still boasts Kevin Durant, Damian Lillard and Jayson Tatum. The squad seemed to work out some problems on the fly in Sunday's final exhibition win over Spain in which it overcame a halftime deficit.

The introduction of Keldon Johnson from the USA Select Team proved to be the spark the United States needed on Sunday.

Johnson ignited a third-quarter run that put the United States in the lead. That advantage was cut into a bit by Spain, but the home side never relinquished the lead.

If the USA strikes the right balance of stars and role players, it will be in much better shape throughout the Olympic tournament.

Booker, Holiday and Middleton will bring defensive reinforcements to the squad, as well as scoring depth behind Durant, Lillard and Tatum.

The United States should navigate Group A play fine while the NBA Finals participants make their way over to Japan. France will be the toughest group opponent, while wins are expected over Iran and Czech Republic.

There likely will not be a ton of blowout wins on the way to the gold medal, but the United States appears to have some issues worked out and should be on the right track to live up to high expectations.


Simone Biles Comes Home with Multiple Gold Medals Again

Biles has an extensive trophy case of gold medals from the 2016 Summer Olympics and the World Championships.

In 2016, Biles took first place in the all-around, vault and floor exercise as an individual. She also helped the United States earn gold in the women's team competition.

The 24-year-old should come away from Tokyo with a similar haul since she has dominated the women's gymnastics circuit over the past eight years.

Biles won the all-around competition at the World Championships in every year she has entered the event since 2013. She has five gold medals in that event alone from the World Championships. She did not compete in 2017, and the event was not held in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

At her last World Championships in 2019, Biles took gold in the all-around, vault, balance beam and floor exercise. The Americans also came home with first place in the team competition.

There is enough space in between events for Biles to concentrate on a few of them and repeat as Olympic champion.

The women's team all-around competition is slated for July 27. The women's individual all-around event is two days later on July 29.

The vault and floor exercise are scheduled for back-to-back days on August 1 and 2, but Biles will have a few days off after the individual all-around.

Biles has the potential to come away from Tokyo as the most decorated individual athlete, but at minimum, she should leave with two golds from the all-around events.


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