After facing cancellation last year at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, global athletes are more ready than ever to take to the stage at Tokyo 2020.
As athletes take to the stage during the opening ceremony today, here are five Irish athletes to look out for at the 2021 Olympics.
With restrictions on crowds and COVID testing a central part of this year’s Olympics, the games are set to look a little different this year.
However, athletes from around the world are more ready than ever to step up to the challenge. And with a strong team off to Tokyo, Team Ireland looks set to bring home the gold.
5. Jack Woolley – Ireland’s first Taekwando Olympian
First up on our list of Irish athletes to look out for at the 2021 Olympics is 22-year-old Dublin Taekwandin, Jack Woolley.
After missing out on a place at Rio 2016 by just one place, the County Dublin fighter was determined to come back stronger for Tokyo 2020.
Woolley is Ireland’s first Taekwando Olympian and his chances of taking home the gold look hopeful as his seed has been steadily improving in the run-up to the games.
4. Annalise Murphy – sailing runs in the family
Irish sailing superstar Annalise Murphy looks set to take home her second medal at this year’s games.
The 31-year-old took home the silver medal in the Women’s Laser Radial class and Rio 2016, and this year, she’s going for gold.
Hailing from the Dublin suburb of Rathfarnham, Murphy took after her mum Cathy McAleavy, who competed in sailing at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul.
3. Sanita Puspure – a talented rower
Irish rower Sanita Puspure is next on our list of Irish athletes to look out for at the 2021 Olympics.
The Latvian-born rower gained Irish nationality in 2011 after her husband Kaspar got a job at Dublin airport. The 39-year-old will be representing Team Ireland at this year’s Olympics.
Now living with her family in County Cork, the talented athlete will race in the women’s single scull in Tokyo. After winning her most recent heat, hopes are high that Puspure could bring a medal home to Ireland.
2. Fintan McCarthy and Paul O’Donovan – 2019 World Rowing Champions
Fintan McCarthy and Paul O’Donovan are among Team Ireland’s gold medal favourites at this year’s Olympics.
The champion rowers will compete in the lightweight double sculls after winning at the 2019 World Rowing Championships.
24-year-old McCarthy and 27-year-old O’Donovan both hail from Skibbereen in County Cork, and together, the pair are unbeatable.
However, McCarthy and O’Donovan are not the only Irish double sculls hopefuls. Philip Doyle and Ronan Byrne took home the silver at the 2019 World Rowing Championships. So, their chances of a medal at this year’s Olympics look likely.
1. Kellie Harrington – an incredible Irish boxer
Topping our list of Irish athletes to look out for at the 2021 Olympics is 31-year-old boxing hopeful, Kellie Harrington.
Competing for the women’s lightweight medal Harrington is ranked number one in boxing. Thus, her chances of bringing home a medal for Team Ireland look likely.
The 31-year-old Dublin boxer is set to carry the Ireland flag during this year’s opening ceremony alongside Belfast boxer Brendan Irvine.
The only other Irish boxer seeded at this year’s Olympics is Belfast featherweight Michaela Walsh, ranked number four.