Get ready for the Olympics and more this week.
In the Olympics, we have a fantastic week of sport. Monday sees the Men’s Triathlon, which could be the route to Great Britain’s first gold at the Games. On Tuesday, we get to see Simone Biles in action as she and Team USA look to defend their Women’s Team gold in the artistic gymnastics. Get over the middle of the week with the Men’s Rugby Sevens gold medal match. Follow that up on Thursday with the second day of medal races in the Olympic rowing. And start the end of the week the right way with the first day of the Olympic Athletics.
We take a break from the Olympics for the weekend to bring you some of the best sport outside of Tokyo. South Africa take on the British & Irish Lions in the second Test of the Lions Tour on Saturday. And we close out the week on Sunday with the next race of the F1 calendar – the Hungarian Grand Prix.
The Olympic Men’s Triathlon takes place in the Minato ward of Tokyo starting on Sunday 25th July 2021 at 9:30PM GMT.
The Men’s Triathlon is set to be one of the most hotly contested events of the Olympics. One of the race favourites is 23-year-old Alex Yee. The Brit has been climbing the sport’s ladder for years, but has broken out in the past 12 months. His unbelievable pace in the run could be the decisive factor. It was this running dominance that all but kept the two-time defending Olympic champion Alistair Brownlee out of the Olympics. However, he will have to contend with America’s Morgan Pearson, a seven-time collegiate All-American and the world number 9. Other medal competitors include Noway’s Kristian Blummenfelt and Canada’s Tyler Mislwachuk but with the absence of Alistair Brownlee, the race is wide open.
The race will see competitors swim in Tokyo Bay before taking to the streets of Minato City for the cycling and running portions of the race.
The top women’s gymnastics teams face off in the Final of the Artistic Gymnastics Women’s Team event at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre in Tokyo. Competition begins on Tuesday 27th July 2021 at 10:45AM GMT.
In the Women’s Team All-Around each of the eight teams nominate three of their four gymnastics for each of the four apparatus. In qualifying, the stalwart Team USA, led by superstar Simone Biles, were stunned by the Russian Olympic Committee team. The Russians finished first, the Americans second.
The gold medal will come down to these two teams as they compete across the vault, uneven bars, balance beam, and floor exercise. The Americans are the defending Olympic champions from 2016 with team leader Biles also winning the gold medal in the individual vault and floor exercise. However, this new look Russian team is ready to usurp the Americans and potentially usher in a new era of gymnastic dominance. They have already beaten the Americans once, they just need to do it again.
The gold medal match of the Men’s Rugby Sevens event takes place at Tokyo Stadium in Tokyo on Wednesday 28th July 2021. Play begins at 9:00AM GMT.
2020 is the second edition of the rugby sevens tournament after it was introduced to the Olympics for Rio 2016.
Fiji and Great Britain, the gold and silver medallists from Rio respectively, enter as two of the favourites once again. Fiji boasts Bristol regular Semi Radranda as well as recently named Sevens Player of the Decade Jerry Tuwai. Great Britain has 2020 British Sevens Player of the Year Ben Harris as well as young star Harry Glover, alongside the sport’s all-time top try scorer Dan Norton.
However, New Zealand have also entered the gold medal conversation as the reigning world and Commonwealth champions. And the United States, with speedster and two-time player of the year Perry Baker, are not a team to underestimate.
It is another event that could be anyone’s for the taking.
The second day of medals will be awarded in the Rowing at the Sea Forest Waterway on Wednesday 28th July 2021 beginning at 11:30PM GMT.
With two days lost to bad weather at the start of the week, it’s a busy day at the Sea Forest Waterway. Amongst the rescheduled heats, four medals are being contested on Thursday.
New Zealand will look to defend their Men’s Pair medal from Rio. However, neither of their rowers from five years ago are in the boat this year. In the women’s pair, Great Britain’s Helen Glover will look to defend her title alongside new partner Polly Swann.
There will be a new champion in the men’s lightweight double sculls as Rio champions France do not appear in the field. Ireland’s Paul O’Donovan, a silver medallist in Rio alongside his brother, will be going for gold with new partner Fintan McCarthy. The final race of the day is the women’s lightweight double sculls. Ilse Paulis will look to defend her Rio title and pick up her second Olympic gold alongside new partner Marieke Keijser.
The Athletics begin at the Olympics on Thursday 29th July 2021 at the Olympic Stadium. Events begin at 11:00PM GMT.
Friday marks the first day of the athletics at the Olympics. The track and field events are some of the marquee events of the Olympics and run until the final day of the Games.
Most of Friday events are heats for the weekend’s medals. This includes the heats of the women’s 100m, where Jamaicans Elaine Thompson Herah, the gold medallist from Rio, and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, the bronze medallist, are expected to dominate. We will also see the debut of the new 4x400m Mixed Relay, an event that debuted in 2017. The defending world champions in the event are Team USA.
The one medal on offer on Friday is the men’s 10,000m. A new champion will be crowned as Mo Farah, two-time defending champion, failed to qualify for Tokyo. The entire podium will be different as Kenya’s Paul Tanui and Ethopia Tamirat Tola, who took silver and bronze in Rio, also don’t appear in the field. The overwhelming favourite for the event is Uganda’s Joshua Cheptengei. Cheptengei is the currently world record holder, having ran a time of 26:11.00 in October 2020.
South Africa face the British & Irish Lions in the second Test between the two sides at Cape Town Stadium in Cape Town on Saturday 31st July 2021 at 4:00PM GMT.
The first Test between the two sides was a classic. Trailing 12-3 at the half, the Lions scored a second half converted try and four penalties to fight back and take down South Africa 22-17.
Now the teams will meet in Cape Town once again. Discipline was a decisive factor last week, with 9 penalties kicked, so the second Test will likely be a much more disciplined performance by both sides. The Springboks will also look to shut down the likes of Maro Itoje, the Player of the Match and a pivotal piece in the Lions’ breakdown success.
For the Lions, they simply need a repeat performance of last week. Break down South Africa, be aggressive in attack, strong in defense and continue to be consistent with their kicking game. They’ve shown that they can beat South Africa, now they just need to do it again.
The British & Irish Lions last beat South Africa in a Test series in 1997. Can they secure their crucial second victory? Or will the Springboks level the series?
The F1 season continues with the Hungarian Grand Prix at the Hungaroring in Mogyoród on Sunday 1st August. Racing begins at 1:00PM GMT.
Lewis Hamilton ended his winless streak at five races, as he topped the podium at Silverstone two weeks ago. With Drivers’ Championship leader Max Verstappen crashing out on lap 1 of the British Grand Prix, Hamilton was able to pull back vital points in the title race. He now trails his Dutch adversary by 13 points.
The Hungaroring is a fast circuit with three long straights, and plenty of varied corners that can test drivers everywhere on the circuit. Lewis Hamilton has won a record eight Hungarian Grand Prixes, including the last three prior to 2021. Last year, Verstappen finished second to Hamilton, coming across the line just under 9 seconds after the Brit.
But with the competition for the title heating up race by race, how will the podium look after 70 laps around the Hungaroring?
Honourable mentions around the world go to cricket. Limited-overs competition The Hundred plays its first full week of fixtures at sites across the UK. Internationally, Australia conclude their Tour of the West Indies before the West Indies welcome Pakistan to the Caribbean. Meanwhile, India continue their Tour of Sri Lanka.
In the world of basketball, the NBA Finals may have ended and the WNBA season is on hiatus, but it’s time for the NBA Draft. The Detroit Pistons are expected to pick Oklahoma State’s Cade Cunningham with the first overall pick.
For football fans, there is plenty to enjoy. The CONCACAF Gold Cup comes to an end while domestically in the US, the MLS and NWSL both continue. The Scottish Premiership begins a new season, with defending champions Rangers beginning their title defence against Livingston.
It's also a busy week in horse racing. The Goodwood Festival runs throughout the week. Also getting underway this week is a new horse racing competition, the Racing League. The first race is set to take place in Newcastle.
There is plenty to look forward to for rugby fans. In rugby league, the Super League week sees a rivalry match between the Warrington Wolves and Wigan Warriors. In the NRL, there are two monumental matches. The 5th place Roosters play the 4th place Eels. Meanwhile, the 1st place Storm take on the 2nd place Panthers. In rugby union, the Major League Rugby Championship takes place between Rugby ATL and LA Giltinis.
Cowes Week, one of the highlights of the sailing calendar, gets underway on the Isle of Wight.
There are just four rounds remaining in the AFL, as the season of Aussie Rules hots up. Greater Western Sydney look to make their current standing in the Finals a little more secure as they take on Port Adelaide.
Whatever you’re watching, enjoy!
Photos by Alex Yee, Team USA, Official Fiji Rugby Union, Team GB, Team Jamaica, The British & Irish Lions, FORMULA 1®
Written and information correct on 25th July at 10PM GMT
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