Photo by Hannah Robb/St. Olaf Athletics
The leaves may be falling and a chill is in the air, but summer 2024 is just around the corner, and who isn’t excited to cheer for the decorated Olympians and up-and-coming athletes of the year?
The Paris 2024 Olympics are happening at the end of July into the beginning of August, and let’s take a look at who might be some of the athletes to keep an eye on during the games.
I know I’m not the only one who loved to watch gymnastics in the Olympics as a kid, and Simone Biles is back at it again. The most decorated gymnast of all time, Biles exited the Tokyo Olympics early for her mental health and took a few years off but has strongly suggested that she’s back for more this year. Biles has five moves named after her on floor, beam, and vault. She also appeared in the 2023 World Championships, where she won two more gold medals. Assuming that she decides to compete, Biles could be a fierce competitor in Paris this summer.
Swimming is one of the most anticipated events in the Olympics, and the women from the USA have the potential to take the Olympics by storm this year with Katie Ledecky being no exception. The 26-year-old freestyle swimmer’s success began when she was just 15 with her first gold medal. Since then, she has won six more gold medals and holds 21 world championship medals. Ledecky is in the games for Paris and hasn’t counted herself out for the games in Los Angeles in 2028. Ledecky has stayed strong in the pool since she was 15 and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.
Any swimmer who breaks a record set by Michael Phelps is one to look out for, and Kristóf Milák achieved just that in the 200m Butterfly in 2019. He then beat his own record in the World Championships this year and won both gold and silver during the Tokyo Games in 2020. The Hungarian swimmer has set his reputation firmly as a champion of the butterfly stroke and I’m excited to see what he’ll accomplish this year.
We’ll see some amazing performances by these athletes in well-established sports, but Paris is also shaking things up. Breakdancing will be added to the competition pool this year, along with eight other new events. This will include more events for women, making Paris 2024 the first gender-equal Olympic Games.
There is quite a roster to look forward to and exciting new events to watch, so if you plan on tuning in, keep these three in mind. I think everyone should see what Olympic breakdancing might have in store.