So who will be on the courts in Tokyo? Naomi Osaka and Ash Barty, who are not only the top players in the sport (ranked number two and number one, respectively), but are both outspoken advocates for mental health. Osaka, who is competing for Japan, will be playing for the first time after withdrawing from recent Open tournaments for mental health reasons.
Watch it: Tennis events will take place from July 23 through August 1.
Love a sports dynasty? Look no further than the U.S. Women’s basketball team, led by five-time Olympians Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi. Not only will the team be gunning for their seventh consecutive gold, they’re on a 49 game winning streak. This team hasn’t lost since 1992.
Watch it: The women will play July 27 through August 7.
The women of the USWNT—reigning world champs, equal pay warriors, and all around badasses—just became the surprising underdogs. In their first official Olympic match on July 21 (before the Opening Ceremony), the U.S. lost to long-time rival Sweden (who knocked the USWNT out of the Olympic quarterfinals in 2016).
If Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan and co. prevail, they’d become the first team to win an Olympic gold medal immediately after winning the World Cup—a feat that feels (fairly or not) so much bigger than just a soccer game. One thing is for sure, this is going to be one hell of a nail biter.
Elsewhere in soccer, keep your eyes on Brazilian soccer legend Formiga, who will be competing in her seventh Olympics this month.
Watch it: The USWNT kicks off on July 21 with the final taking place August 5.
Katie Ledecky is a world record-breaking machine, having smashed the 1500m world record six times. This year, the event will be open to women for the first time in Olympic history and Ledecky is favored to bring home gold. In Tokyo, she could become the first U.S. woman, in any sport, to bring home five gold medals.
Watch it: Dive in July 24 through August 5.
8. Paralympic Cycling
Oksana Masters is practically super human—she’s won Paralympic medals in three sports: rowing, biathlon, and cross-country skiing. No biggie. In Tokyo, she’ll be looking to bring home a medal in yet another sport—paralympic cycling—before she gets right back to training for the 2022 Winter Paralympics in Beijing.
Watch it: The Paralympic Games will run from August 24 to September 5.
Surfing is one of the four sports making its highly anticipated Olympic debut this year. The action will be led by Carissa Moore—reigning four-time world champion.
Some very exciting context to keep in mind while watching the women shred: In 2019, surfing became one of the only sports to achieve pay equity.
Watch it: The surf competition is subject to change based on the waves, but the action is slated for July 24-28.
Skateboarding will also be making its Olympic debut this year. The field is stacked with impossibly cool women who will be bringing some serious chill and skill to the Games in both street and park events. Keep your eyes peeled for Bryce Wettstein and Brighton Zeuner, 16-year-old childhood best friends from California.
Watch it: The action will go down July 25 and August 3.
There are few things more genuinely badass than watching women lift hundreds of pounds over their heads like “Oh what’s that? You say women aren’t strong?” This year, Laurel Hubbard will become the first openly trans person to compete (in any sport) in Olympic history.