New Zealand’s top medal hopes at the Tokyo Olympics: our countdown continues
At the last Summer Olympics, in Rio in 2016, New Zealand won a record 18 medals – four gold, nine silver and five bronze.
Will they be able to surpass that in Tokyo in 2021?
The official goal is for them to come back with at least 16 medals.
But there are a lot more events than where the Kiwis are with a good shot.
This week we’ll be revealing our top 25 medal prospects, ending with the ones with the best chances (or at least we think) of winning gold.
10. Hannah Osborne and Brooke Donoghue
Rowing – scull
It was a big surprise when the New Zealand rowing team was nominated for Tokyo when the coaches changed the composition of the pair.
Hannah Osborne usurped Olivia Loe to team up with Brooke Donoghue, although Loe and Donoghue have established themselves as the best, most consistent combination in the world since the Rio 2016 Olympics.
Donoghue and Loe won gold at the world championships in 2017 and 2019 and were runners-up between those triumphs.
But Osborne has been pushing hard for a place in an elite boat since competing in the single scull for two years after Emma Twigg temporarily retired from Rio and she helped qualify the quad in 2019.
When to watch: Heat on Friday July 23; repechage on Saturday July 24; semi-finals on Monday July 26; final on Wednesday July 28
9. Lisa Carrington
Sprint canoe – K1 500m
A bronze medalist in the K1 500m in Rio, Carrington will aim for improvement in Tokyo and Olympic gold in a second event after finishing first in the K1 200m in 2012 and 2016.
While Carrington has had many Olympic successes in the K1 200m, she has a strong record in the K1 500 at the world championships, previously winning gold in 2015 and 2019.
With Covid-19 ruining the odds of any international competition for Carrington last year, it’s unclear exactly where she stands relative to her rivals in this event.
Hungarian Danuta KozÃ¡k, reigning gold medalist in the Women’s K1 500m, returns to defend her title in Tokyo.
Denmark’s Emma Jorgensen, who finished second in Rio, is also expected to be in the gold medal race with Belarusian Volha Khudzenka.
When to watch: Heat on Wednesday August 4; semi-finals and final on Thursday August 5
8. Tom Walsh
Athletics – shot put
Tom Walsh hasn’t really been in great shape this year, but that doesn’t mean the Rio 2016 bronze medalist isn’t a legitimate medal contender.
Despite a pre-game winning streak, the South Cantabrian continues to seek his best form, failing to keep up with an American trio led by reigning Olympic champion Ryan Crouser.
After breaking Randy Barnes’ 31-year-old world record with a staggering 23.37m lift at the US track and field trials last month, there is no doubt that Crouser will go to Tokyo as the favorite for the medal. gold, but Walsh had his best effort of the year, 22.22m, earlier this month.
It is the fourth longest throw this year, with two other Americans Joe Kovacs (22.72m) and Darrell Hill (22.34m) ahead of him.
Don’t be surprised if Walsh finishes on the podium, especially if the 2017 world champion can threaten his personal best of 22.90m.
When to watch: Qualifications on Tuesday August 3; final Thursday August 5
Robert van Royen
7. All Blacks at Seven
Rugby Sevens – Men’s Tournament
Scotland’s Clark Laidlaw is tasked with improving the disappointing performances of the All Blacks Sevens in the first Rugby Sevens tournament at the 2016 Olympics.
The Rio Games ended the successful career of seven-a-side coaching guru Sir Gordon Tietjens, who finished fifth after a shock group-stage loss to Japan and a quarter-final outing against former enemies Fiji, who went on to win a historic gold medal.
Laidlaw, the coach since 2017, has guided them to success in the two flagship events since Rio, with victories in 2018 at the Commonwealth Games and the Seven-a-side World Cup, and they have led the World Series until its closure last March because of Covid-19.
The tournaments in May and June marked their return to the international seven-a-side tournament, but the lack of meaningful matches over the past 16 months makes the men’s event in Tokyo difficult to predict.
Still, Fiji and New Zealand will be among the favorites.
Laidlaw’s decision not to select All Black Caleb Clarke in the initial 12-man squad was a strong and bold call, while anything that isn’t a medal will be seen as a failure.
When to watch: Pool game on Monday July 26; group match and quarter-finals on Tuesday July 27; semi-finals and medal matches on Wednesday July 28
6. Female Eight
Rowing – eight
New Zealand sent a women’s eight to the Olympics for the first time four years ago in Rio and the boat finished fourth.
They will travel to Tokyo as gold medal favorites after a dominant victory at the 2019 world championships – the last time all of the world’s best crews met before the Covid-19 pandemic.
The squad will include Kerri Gowler and Grace Prendergast, who will also be favorites to win gold in the pair, while the squad includes Gowler’s younger sister, Jackie, and another pair of sisters, Lucy and Phoebe Spoors.
The traditional powers of the United States and Romania, as well as Australia, Great Britain and Canada, will be the expected rivals.
When to watch: Heat on Sunday July 25; repechage on Wednesday July 28; final on Friday July 30