In the three most recent summer games, Usain Bolt was the big star, not only in the Caribbean, but all around. The Jamaican “Lightning Bolt” retired in 2017, after winning eight titles and setting records that seemed unbreakable in the 100 and the 200 meters. Now, who will be the Caribbean athletes to watch at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games?
Cuba and its dream of four gold medals
The Cuban delegation in Tokyo 2020 will have 69 athletes, the second smallest in the last sixty years. However, Cubans hope to obtain between four and five gold medals in order to finish, again, among the 20 best countries in the standings.
Mijaín López (Greco-Roman Wrestling)
All eyes will be focused on Mijaín López. This robust fighter, in the Greco-Roman style, participates in his fifth Olympic Games and seeks to become the only one to have won four titles. He triumphed in 2008, 2012 and 2016 and is the top favorite in Tokyo 2020. It will not be easy for the 39-year-old athlete from Pinar del Río because he has complicated rivals, but he is, without a doubt, the great hope of Cuba.
Andy Cruz (Boxing)
Cuban boxers have contributed the most medals to that country in summer games. In Tokyo 2020, the strongest candidate to climb to the top of the podium is Andy Cruz, at 63 kilograms.
In the last five years, this fighter has won the World Championship twice (2017 and 2019) and was champion of the Pan American Games in Lima 2019. During this time, he has barely lost a single fight.
Julio César La Cruz (Boxing)
“La Sombra” (the shadow) won the Olympic title in Rio 2016. In the 81-kilogram division he was invincible, and he has four world crowns on his record. He has been fighting at 91 kilos for two years, but the results have not been the same. In the 2019 World Cup he lost in the semifinals against Muslim Gadzhimagomedow, and to take the gold in Tokyo 2020, he will have to beat this Russian fighter.
Ismael Borrero (Wrestling)
Borrero is another formidable Cuban fighter in the Greco-Roman wrestling discipline. In Rio 2016 he conquered gold in the 60-kilogram division. He now fights at 67 kilos, where he is the current world champion and world leader.
Related Article: The 10 Fastest Caribbean Sprinters of All Time
Jamaica banks on its sprinters
Jamaica will compete in Tokyo 2020 with a delegation of 58 athletes, 52 of which will compete in athletics. Jamaicans have been at the top of this sport in the Caribbean , achieving 22
Olympic titles, eight of them by Usain Bolt.
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (Sprinter, Athletics)
Among the Caribbean athletes to keep an eye on at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce is a must-watch. She has won six Olympic medals, including two golds in the 100-meter sprint, in Beijing 2008 and London 2012. She will now seek to become the first woman to dominate three times the top athletics competition.
“Pocket Rocket”, as she was nicknamed, seems to have arrived in optimal shape to her Olympic farewell. At an athletic meet in Kingston in June of this year, she set the second-fastest time in 100-meter history, with 10.63 seconds. In addition, the sanction against American sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson makes Fraser-Pryce look even more of a favorite.
Tajay Gayle (Long Jump, Athletics)
Another Jamaican hopeful is Tajay Gayle, the current long jump world champion. An injury in April put his Olympic participation in jeopardy. However, he managed to recover and in a competition in Stockholm, as part of the Diamond League, he stretched to 8.55 meters, which is why he leads the universal ranking in this specialty.
Elaine Thompson-Herah (Sprinter, Athletics)
Thompson-Herah shone at the 2016 Rio Games, where she conquered a historic double, in the 100 and 200-meter dash. In addition, she was part of the Jamaica 4 × 100-meter relay, which finished in second position.
In 2019 she suffered an Achilles heel injury that kept her off the tracks. In 2020 she showed us that she had regained her shape, but she arrives at the Tokyo 2020 Games with the fourth best time of the year in the 100 meters and the third in the 200 meters. She is 28 years old and very talented, so her sprint against Shelly-Ann promises to be very interesting.
Baseball, the great hope of the Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic will bring the largest delegation in its history at the Olympic Games. In total there will be 66 athletes competing in 11 disciplines. Among them, Luguelín Santos obtained silver in the 400-meter race, in London 2012.
The highest hopes are centered on their baseball team, one of the favorites for the title. This team achieved its Olympic qualification by beating Venezuela. In Tokyo 2020, they will play in group A against Japan and Mexico.
The Dominican roster boasts players who have a lot of experience in the majors, such as captain Emilio Bonifacio, Melky Cabrera and José Bautista, as well as great prospects such as Julio Rodríguez.
Trinidad and Tobago believes in Keshorn Walcott
Trinidad and Tobago will compete with a delegation of 33 athletes in Tokyo 2020. Its main figure is javelin thrower Keshorn Walcott, Olympic champion in London 2012 and bronze medalist in Rio 2016.
This will be Walcott’s third summer game. He is 28 years old and appears in the 10th position in the current javelin throw ranking, with a throw of 82.84 meters. It will be difficult for the Trinidadian to return to the podium, but it would be a mistake to rule this out entirely.
Bahamas dreams of a gold medal from Steven Gardiner
Bahamas will bring to Tokyo 2020 a delegation made up of 16 athletes, 14 of them competing in athletics. Shaunae Miller-Uibo is one of their hopefuls, after her Olympic title in Rio 2016, in the 400-meter race. She now hopes to compete in the 200 meters, where she will run against rivals, such as Fraser-Pryce and American sprinter Gabrielle Thomas.
Another of the Caribbean athletes to watch at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games is Steven Gardiner, the current 400-meter world champion. Gardiner triumphed at the Doha World Cup, with a time of 43.48 seconds, and arrives in the Japanese capital as the leader in the universal ranking.
Manny Santiago (Skateboarding – Puerto Rico)
Skateboarding will debut at the Olympics for the first time ever, and a Caribbean man, Puerto Rican Manny Santiago, 35, will try to win a medal. He is currently in 15th place in the world ranking and will compete in the Street mode, for which he already conquered, this year, the Puerto Rico National Open tournament.