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American gymnast Simone Biles was favored to win multiple medals the the 2020 Tokyo Games. Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

American gold-medal hopefuls whose Olympics dreams are on hold

With the coronavirus pandemic raging, 2020 Olympics organizers finally accepted the inevitable and postponed the Games in Tokyo for a year. From the traditional sports of track and field and swimming to some of the new, more extreme events such as skateboarding and climbing, here are U.S. gold-medal favorites who have had their Olympic dreams deferred until 2021.

 
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Katie Ledecky | Swimming

Katie Ledecky | Swimming
Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Ledecky already has more gold medals than any female swimmer ever, and she was favored to win more in Tokyo. In 2016, Ledecky took gold in the 200-, 400-, 800-meter freestyle events, as well as in the 4x200-meter free relay. She is the reigning world champ in the 800. With the addition to the Games of the 1500m freestyle, an event in which she owns the world record, Ledecky had been poised to end up with twice as many career golds as her closest competitor.

 
2 of 20

Christian Coleman | Track and Field

Christian Coleman | Track and Field
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Coleman’s Olympic dreams were in serious jeopardy when the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency charged him with being unavailable for drug tests three times in a year. But the case was dropped after Coleman’s appeal, so the man with the sixth-fastest 100-meter time in history was free to run in Tokyo. Usain Bolt’s retirement has finally left the field open for a new champion. Coleman had a good chance at gold with the Americans' defending 4x100-meter relay world champions too.

 
3 of 20

Simone Biles | Gymnastics

Simone Biles | Gymnastics
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Biles won four gold medals at the 2016 Games, and with five gold medals at the 2019 World Championships, she had the potential to win a whole lot more in 2020. Biles might be the greatest gymnast in history, particular on the floor exercise, where she has five world championship golds. Biles is so impressive that she’s not only adding new moves to her routines, she’s inventing new moves named after her, like the “Biles II,” a double somersault with a triple twist.

 
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Joe Kovacs | Shot Put

Joe Kovacs | Shot Put
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

nb游戏平台After winning an Olympic silver medal in 2016, the 6-foot, 295-pound Kovacs looked like the man to beat in Tokyo. But it promised to be quite a battle between him and fellow American Ryan Crouser.

 
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Christian Taylor | Triple Jump

Christian Taylor | Triple Jump
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Before Taylor won gold at the Rio Games, no one had repeated as Olympic triple jump champion since the Soviet Union's Viktor Saneyev in 1976. (He won three straight gold medals in the event.) Taylor was favored to match Saneyev’s triple golds this summer in Tokyo, especially after winning at the World Championships in 2019. But he also had a chance to set the long jump world record; Taylor’s best mark is less than a centimeter short of the longest in history.

 
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Carissa Moore | Surfing

Carissa Moore | Surfing
Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

nb游戏平台Moore won her first world title in surfing when she was 18, the youngest person to do so. And now that surfing is an official Olympic event, the Hawaii native, ranked No. 1 in the world, is the favorite to take home the gold. 

 
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Caeleb Dressel | Swimming

Caeleb Dressel | Swimming
Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

nb游戏平台Dressel is the closest thing to Michael Phelps in the swim world. He won gold as Phelps’s 4x100 free relay teammate in Rio, and at the 2019 World Championships, he beat Phelps’s world record in 100-meter butterfly. With the mixed medley relay coming to the Olympics for the first time, Dressel had a shot at seven gold medals.

 
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Vashti Cunningham | High Jump

Vashti Cunningham | High Jump
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

nb游戏平台Cunningham is the daughter of former NFL star Randall Cunningham, and one of three American women who had a shot at gold in the high jump. Cunningham has been the indoor and outdoor high jump national champion for four straight years, and set a personal best of 2.00 meters at the most recent world championships. And given her father’s throwing arm, Cunningham could probably have filled in at the javelin throw in an emergency.

 
9 of 20

Nyjah Huston | Skateboarding

Nyjah Huston | Skateboarding
Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

The Olympics were poised to take a turn into X Games territory with skateboarding’s debut as a medal sport. And the best skateboarder in the world is Huston, who at  25 has already won 18 X Games medals. He has his own signature shoe from Nike and nearly four million followers on Instagram, so adding an Olympic gold would be gnarly indeed

 
10 of 20

Regan Smith | Swimming

Regan Smith | Swimming
ED JONES/AFP via Getty Images

Only 18, Smith already has the world record in the 100m and 200m backstroke, and was poised for double, or perhaps triple, gold at the Olympics. At the most recent World Championships, Smith won gold in the 200, but she didn’t qualify for a spot in the 100 back. That didn’t stop her from setting the world record in the first leg of the medley relay, where she and her teammates also won gold. Clearly Smith just needed to make it through the qualifiers, because she was going to be money in the finals.

 
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Sydney McLaughlin | Track and Field

Sydney McLaughlin | Track and Field
Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

nb游戏平台Four years ago, McLaughlin made the Olympic team at age 16, the youngest American track star to do so since 1980. And while she didn’t make it out of the semifinals in Rio, she was ready to win the first of many Olympic golds this summer in the 400-meter hurdles. Her biggest competition is fellow American Dailah Muhammad, who is a full decade older than her, meaning that even with this delay, McLaughlin could have multiple Olympics ahead of her. Regardless of who won their individual hurdle battle, both McLaughlin and Muhammad were favored to win gold as part of the 4x400m relay team.

 
12 of 20

Jordan Burroughs | Wrestling

Jordan Burroughs | Wrestling
Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

After winning gold in the 2012 London Games, Burroughs had a disappointing ninth-place finish in 2016. But he also suffered a series of injuries between 2012 and 2016 that derailed his freestyle wrestling. Since then, Burroughs has taken home gold in three wrestling World Cups – he has six career golds – and a bronze at the most recent World Championships. He is the most decorated U.S. wrestler in history. 

 
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Brooke Raboutou | Climbing

Brooke Raboutou | Climbing
Photo by Toru Hanai/Getty Images

Raboutou is only 18, but she’s been a competitive climber for more than a decade. It’s not a surprise, because both her parents are former world champions in climbing. Tokyo will be the first Olympics for climbing as a medal sport, and Raboutou has the all-around range at lead climbing, speed climbing, and bouldering to have scaled the podium in Tokyo. Because the Games are postponed, she has been busy as a climbing gym.

 
14 of 20

Noah Lyles | Track and Field

Noah Lyles | Track and Field
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

nb游戏平台With Usain Bolt retired, Lyles is the dominant 200-meter runner in the world. He has lost the race only once since 2016, and in this Olympic cycle, he's matched or exceeded a number of Bolt's meet records. Lyles is no slouch at the 100 meters, which carries the mythical "Fastest Man In The World" title with it, but in the 200 meters, he's close to becoming an all-time great.

 
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Lilly King | Swimming

Lilly King | Swimming
Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

nb游戏平台King became a star at the 2016 Olympics, and not just because she won gold in the 100-meter breaststroke. She feuded with her rival, Yuliya Yefimova, after Yefimova celebrated a heat win, telling the Russian, "You wave your finger No. 1 and you’ve been caught drug cheating? I’m not a fan." King was going to have a lot of fans in Tokyo as the overwhelming favorite to repeat as 100m champ -- she's the world holder. 

 
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Tiger Woods | Golf

Tiger Woods | Golf
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

nb游戏平台It's rare to look at the career of Woods and see something he didn't win, but an Olympic medal is one. And the delay might help Woods, as he still must pass a few Americans in the world rankings – the top 15 players in the world rankings qualify, but only four per country. If Woods gets into the Olympics, he'd be among the favorites. 

 
17 of 20

Sue Bird | Basketball

Sue Bird | Basketball
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Bird insists she'd play in the Olympics in 2021 at age 41. Why wouldn't she, since she's succeeded at the international level more than any basketball player in history? Bird racked up four Olympic golds from 2004-16. (She also has four golds from the FIBA World Cup.) Expect Bird to be back whenever the Olympics happen, doling out assists, and finishing her career with a 10th international medal. She and partner Megan Rapinoe are going to have to build an extra room for all their trophies.

 
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Venus & Serena Williams

Venus & Serena Williams
Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

nb游戏平台Sisters Venus and Serena Williams are one of the most dominant doubles teams in history, winning three Olympic gold medals. This will probably be the last Olympics opportunity for the longtime stars. Serena could be a threat for individual gold again, too.


 
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Michael Norman | Track and Field

Michael Norman | Track and Field
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Norman, who turned pro less than two years ago, was the favorite in the 400 meters in Tokyo. He ran the fourth-fastest 400 time ever last April, and he's the only man to beat Noah Lyles in the 200 meters since 2016. Norman says he wasn't going to attempt a 200-400 double at the Games, Michael Johnson-style. 

 
20 of 20

Morgan Hurd | Gymnastics

Morgan Hurd | Gymnastics
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel-USA TODAY NETWORK

Simone Biles isn't the only world champion on the U.S.team. Hurd was the world champion in the all-round in 2017, and won the American Cup this March, a good omen for her Olympic chances. Hurd is known for her well-rounded skills across all gymnastic events, but suffered a hiccup last year and was left off the World Championships team. Those struggles seemed to be behind her, and she was poised for at least team gold in Tokyo, and perhaps a handful of individual medals as well. She's one of the few gymnasts who wears glasses in competition.

Sean Keane is a comedian residing in Los Angeles. He has written for "Another Period," "Billy On The Street," NBC, Comedy Central, E!, and Seeso. You can see him doing fake news every weekday on  and read his tweets at . In 2014, the SF Bay Guardian named him the best comedian in San Francisco, then immediately went out of business.


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