Tokyo Olympics: 10 potential Yorkshire medal heroes at 2020 Olympic Games - and when and where to watch them
The perfect cocktail of Lottery investment, an impressive infrastructure, astute coaching and bloody hard work produced Olympic gold medallists for the ages in Alistair Brownlee and Jessica Ennis-Hill, Ed Clancy and Jack Laugher, Andrew Triggs Hodge and Nicola Adams.
Four of those are not in Tokyo; Ennis-Hill, Hodge and Adams having headed into retirement, and the elder Brownlee running out of steam in his pursuit of a third triathlon title.
It means that save for a few familiar faces, the White Rose contingent in Tokyo includes plenty of new names in what bears the hallmarks of a generational-shift of an Olympics from a Yorkshire perspective. Here, we look at 10 names to follow, old and new, to see if they can deliver Olympic glory.
Jess Learmonth: A bit of a late developer in making her Olympic debut at 33 but that should not detract from the serial nature in which the Wetherby triathlete wins medals. In a wide-open women’s race, and with strong team-mates in Georgia Taylor-Brown – her training partner in Leeds – and the Rio bronze medallist, Vicky Holland, Learmonth has the form to show she can emerge from the pack and claim a medal. A former European champion and Commonwealth Games silver medallist, she was second at the World Series event in Leeds last month. When? Tuesday, July 27, 10.30pm; Where? Odaiba Marine Park; How can I watch? BBC Red Button
Matty Lee: The Leeds diver contests the 10m synchro event with British diving’s poster boy Tom Daley. Just four years Daley’s junior, Lee is headed to his first Games while Daley is bound for his fourth, having yet to win the Olympic gold that he has been destined to deliver ever since that fresh-faced 14-year-old went to Beijing. Earlier this year the pair won gold at a test event in Tokyo and at the European Championships so are bang in form.
When? Monday, July 26, 7am; Where? Tokyo Aquatics Centre; How can I watch? BBC One or BBC Red Button
Tom Pidcock: I think in the distant future Leeds cyclist Tom Pidcock could be a Tour de France winner, such is his wide-ranging skills on a bike and given how well he has adapted to life in the professional peloton this year, but in the immediate future, a medal in the mountain biking in Tokyo is not beyond him. A former cyclo-cross world silver-medallist, he won the world mountain bike world title last year, but goes into Tokyo having missed a chunk of time through injury, and he will be up against Mathieu van der Poel, a rider who is a year or two further down the line in his development.
When? Monday, July 26, 7am; Where? Izu MTB Course; How can I watch? BBC One or BBC Red Button
Bradly Sinden: Doncaster’s world taekwondo champion in 2019 could be the man to beat in the 68kg category in Tokyo. Inspired by fellow Doncastrian Sarah Stevenson winning bronze in Beijing in 2008, Sinden also won a silver medal at the recent European Championships.
When? Sunday, July 25, 4.30am; Where? Makuhari Messe Hall A; How can I watch? BBC One or BBC Red Button
Still got it?
Jonny Brownlee: A wonderful servant for so many years, but does he have the legs and can he do it without his brother, Alistair. The narrative is certainly trending in the right direction: bronze in London, silver in Rio, gold in Tokyo. He will have to beat his own team-mate to do that and British sensation Alex Yee left him and everyone else trailing in his wake in Roundhay Park last month.
Jonny finished ninth. But triathlon is traditionally an old man’s game and Jonny certainly has the experience. It would cap his career for him to medal without his brother.
Men’s Individual - When? Sunday, July 25, 10.30pm; Where? Odaiba Marine Park; How can I watch? BBC One or BBC Red Button; Mixed Relay – When? Friday, July 30, 11.30pm; Where? Odaiba Marine Park; ow can I watch? BBC Red Button or BBC One;
Ed Clancy: Yorkshire’s most decorated Olympian and at 36, still going strong. Well, to an extent. Great Britain’s team pursuit squad were seventh at the last world track cycling championships to be staged a month before the coronavirus pandemic took hold late last winter. British Cycling have come from a long way back before, but this year it feels a long, long way back. If anyone can inspire a surprise victory it is the champion of Beijing, London and Rio.
When? Men’s Team Pursuit Qualifying: Monday, August 2, 9.02am (finals scheduled for 10am on Wednesday, August 4); Where? Izu Velodrome; How can I watch? BBC One or BBC Red Button
Lizzie Deignan: A silver medallist in a thrilling women’s road race back in 2012, the 2015 world champion saw her preparations to go one better in Rio disrupted on the eve of the Games by stories of missed drugs tests. She still finished fifth. Tokyo will be her last shot. Deignan is thrilling to watch because she will always go for it, either from a long break or from closer in, it’s just the elements out of her control – like the supremely talented and well-stocked Dutch squad – that could thwart her. Like Jonny Brownlee, it would be a cathartic victory.
When? Sunday, July 25, 5am; Where? Fuji International Speedway; How can I watch? BBC One or BBC Red Button
Jack Laugher: Britain’s most successful Olympic diver thanks to his gold in the 3m synchro and silver in the 3m individual in Rio. Remember that green pool? The Harrogate diver, the standard bearer for yet another strong representation from the City of Leeds club, heads to Tokyo a little under the radar, despite adding Commonwealth and European gold medals to his list of titles. With new 3m synchro prtner Dan Goodfellow, he won gold at the recent Europeans, but finished sixth in the individual, admitting he was over-burdening himself with the pressure he was putting himself under.
Men’s Syncronised 3m Springboard Final – When? Wednesday, July 28, 7am; Where? Tokyo Aquatics Centre; How can I watch? BBC One or BBC Red Button. Men’s 3m Springboard When? - Monday, August 2, 7am; Where? Tokyo Aquatics Centre; How can I watch? BBC One or BBC Red Button.
Max Litchfield: Fourth in the 400m individual medley back in Rio when he wasn’t even expecting to make the final, can the swimmer from Pontefract via Doncaster Dartes and City of Sheffield make the step up to the Olympic podium? He has made the international medal breakthrough in recent years and is knocking on the door.
400m individual medley Heats – When? Heats on Sat, July 24 - qualified eighth overall; final scheduled for 2.30am on Sunday, July 25; Where? Tokyo Aquatics Centre; How can I watch? BBC One or BBC Red Button
Marc Scott: The North Yorkshire runner has already dethroned Mo Farah in the 5,000m and 10,000m at British level, can he now go and carry the baton onto the biggest international stage?
Scott, of Richmond and Zetland Harriers, is based in America and is therefore out of the spotlight, but with Farah out of the way, the spotlight could fall on him over the two long-distance events.
When? Tuesday, August 3, 12pm; Where? Olympic Stadium; How can I watch? BBC One or BBC Red Button