Tokyo 2020 - 100 days to go: Olympic farewells for Team GB's Andy Murray, Max Whitlock and Mo Farah?
With 100 days to go until the big kick-off in Tokyo, are we gearing up to say farewell to some of Team GB’s biggest stars of the past decade? Eurosport has been analysing where some of the British greats are in the preparation for the Games, and whether there could be more golds to come in Japan.
Andy Murray is the only tennis player to successfully defend an Olympic singles title
Now we are in the final straight. 100 days to go until Tokyo 2020, we are almost into double figures.
With the coronavirus pandemic still affecting our lives, the Olympic Games will offer the world a wholly different shared global experience in the summer of 2021 - a celebration of sport which will leave us with lasting memories.
But some of the Team GB stars who have provided the best of those in the past decade may be entering their last stretch. Eurosport has been looking at whether this could be the final Olympics for some of Britain’s legends - or has a shortened three year gap between Games made Paris a possibility?
It is clear Tokyo was one of the main focuses of the three-time Grand Slam champion’s comeback following surgery, but his return has been far from straight forward.
Though the noises from Murray suggest his metal hip has not been causing him too many problems, other issues are regularly stunting his progress. Coronavirus ruled Murray out of the Australian Open, while a freak groin injury forced him to withdraw from the Miami Open on the eve of the tournament.
#Returnto2012: Murray’s match point against Federer at London 2012
These can be put back to bad luck, but though Murray described the latest tweak as a “very minor”, we have not heard from him in three weeks and he is not playing in Monte Carlo.
Wimbledon and Tokyo are surely key to his motivation. Murray is the only tennis player to successfully defend an Olympic singles title, following up his London 2012 victory over Roger Federer by beating Juan Martin Del Potro in the Rio 2016 final.
As a former champion, he will qualify for Tokyo regardless of ranking. All British fans want to see the fairy tale comeback, and we hope it will still come, but Paris 2024 looks a long way off for Murray.
Out of everyone in this list, it is surely Farah who is most likely to call it a day after Tokyo, yet given his drive, who knows?
At 38, arguably Britain’s greatest ever male distance runner will head to Japan having given up on his marathon project to return to the track.
Top 10: Mo Farah and the most exciting sprint finishes in Olympics history
Who can forget that almighty roar which pushed Farah to the finish line at London 2012 to win 5,000m and 10,000m gold, one of those on the famed Super Saturday, only to do it all again in Rio.
That is when he made his full-time move to the road, which did not quite go to plan. He will put all his eggs in one basket in Tokyo, skipping the 5,000m to race over 10,000m only.
Farah looks in great early season form too, having run 63:07 at the Djibouti half-marathon in early March. He will be one of the favourites to get on the podium, but whether that famous kick can beat world record holder Joshua Cheptegei to victory is another matter - it is going to be a brilliant race to watch.
It is probably 50/50 whether Jones goes on to Paris, where she will be 32. The Welsh taekwondo player was one of the breakout stars of London 2012 and has been a force in the 57kg category ever since.
‘And then I was belting out the national anthem’ – Jade Jones on Olympic glory
Jones followed up gold at her home Games with another in Rio, but she says winning a third Olympic title would be her best achievement yet.
She is in good shape, having won a third European gold at the weekend and is in a great place to challenge in Tokyo.
Jones has not ruled out continuing until 2024 and funding is already secured for the sport for Paris and it may be tempting to go further depending on what happens in Japan.
Before the pandemic, the five-time Olympic gymnastics medallist was openly talking about considering Paris. But this sport is not a young person’s game.
Whitlock is 28, old enough to be considered a veteran, yet he is still in great shape and will be one of the favourites going into Tokyo, particularly in the pommel horse.
#Returnto2012 – Louis Smith and Max Whitlock medal in pommel horse
As with so many Olympic sports, with just over three months to go, it is hard to tell where Whitlock is in his preparations for Japan, but we will find out later this month at the European Championships.
He was one of Team GB’s best performers in Rio, with two gold medals and a bronze, and will be desperate to recreate that form.
Jason and Laura Kenny will be looking to increase their medal haul in Tokyo
Image credit: Getty Images
We did not know it at the time, but Kenny’s already retired once.
But the lure of Tokyo, and the possibility of at least equalling Sir Bradley Wiggins as Britain's most decorated Olympian, is too much for a cyclist who turned 33 last month and whose achievements surely go down as the most underrated and under the radar of any Team GB athlete - probably just the way he likes it.
Kenny’s not been pulling up any trees since doing a u-turn in quitting the sport, but he also went into Rio showing little form to suggest he would end up coming away with three gold medals.
Jason Kenny wins the sprint in Olympic record at Rio 2016
His overall medal tally is seven since making his Olympic debut at Beijing 2008, a remarkable achievement given only one of those is anything other than gold. He is already Britain’s joint-record holder for the most Olympic titles with six, alongside track legend Sir Chris Hoy.
Having walked away once, it is hard to tell whether Kenny will be back for another shot at Paris. A lot will depend if he smashes all records in Tokyo and becomes Britain’s most successful Olympian ever.