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Going for the Gold: Everything You Need to Know About the 2024 Summer Olympics

Can gymnast Simone Biles make an Olympics comeback? Will sprinter Noah Lyles break Usain Bolt’s world record?

spinner image simone biles of team united states competing in the tokyo twenty twenty olympic games
Simone Biles competes in the Women's Balance Beam Final at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Gymnastics Centre on Aug. 3, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan.
Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

The countdown is officially on.

At this very time next year, the world will be gearing up for the Paris 2024 Olympics opening ceremony.

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It will be much different than when Paris last hosted the Summer Olympics, 100 years ago in 1924. Then, the Olympics featured 17 sports and 126 medal events. In 2024, Paris will feature 32 sports and 329 medal events. In 1924, of the 3,089 participating athletes, more than 95 percent (2,954) were men; 135 were women. In 2024, 10,500 athletes are expected to compete, with equal representation between men and women.

​With a year before the Summer Games return, here’s how the top American storylines are shaping up.

spinner image katie ledecky of team united states after winning the womens fifteen hundred meter freestyle final
Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

​U.S. swimmer Katie Ledecky could become the most accomplished American woman Olympic athlete

​Soon after diving into the water, Ledecky will likely achieve two things: collecting another gold medal and getting closer to etching her name in the history books. Ledecky, a seven-time Olympic gold medalist, needs to win three more medals in Paris to surpass former swimmer Jenny Thompson as the most decorated American woman athlete. 

​Thompson collected 12 medals in four Olympic appearances (1996-2004): eight golds, three silvers and a bronze. Ledecky has collected 10 medals in the past three Olympics (2012-2021): seven golds and three silvers.​

It doesn’t appear Ledecky will slow down anytime soon: She won four gold medals at the 2022 World Championships.

​The 26-year-old Ledecky did have one surprising loss this summer, to 16-year-old Claire Weinstein in the 200-meter freestyle at the U.S. Swimming Championships. That setback aside, Ledecky hasn’t shown signs of regression. She's currently competing at the world swimming championships for the sixth time. After that, Ledecky will resume her training in Florida in hopes of setting more records in Paris. ​

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(Left to right) Simone Biles and Caeleb Dressel
Photo by Iris van den Broek/BSR Agency/Getty Images; Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

Can U.S. gymnast Simone Biles and U.S. men’s swimmer Caeleb Dressel make successful comebacks?

​​Both Biles and Dressel excelled at their respective sports. They both took time away to address their mental health. And they both hope to compete at the Paris Olympics.

Will either or both of them produce an inspiring comeback story? Or will either or both of them experience more hardships?

Biles, a four-time Olympic gold medalist and the greatest female gymnast of all time, reported feeling anxiety after experiencing the “twisties” during the Tokyo Games. Biles then withdrew from a team event where the U.S. women eventually won a silver medal. Biles plans to compete for the first time since the Tokyo Olympics at the U.S. Classic in August, which is a qualifier for the U.S. championships.

​Dressel, a seven-time Olympic gold medalist, withdrew from the world championships in June 2022 and refrained from competing or training for the following eight months. Dressel explained the reasoning for his absence in broad terms: “There were a lot of things I shoved down and all came boiling up, so I didn’t really have a choice.” Dressel recently returned to the U.S. national championships, but he did not qualify for the world championships. Dressel also did not advance to the championship final in the 50-meter and 100-meter freestyle, two events in which he holds the American record and also won at the Tokyo Olympics. Biles will soon find out if she will encounter similar rust at the U.S. Classic.

Both Biles and Dressel have become outspoken on mental health and say the time away from competition helped them significantly. Regardless of whether that leads to more gold-medal performances, Biles and Dressel may have already secured the most important victory by valuing their health over results. 

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Photo by Sam Mellish/Getty Images

Can Noah Lyles break Usain Bolt’s record in the men’s 200 meters?

Lyles has inched closer and closer toward Bolt’s record. 

​​In the 2022 World Championships, Lyles ran the 200-meter race in 19.31 seconds, setting an American record and putting himself third all-time behind Bolt (19.19 seconds) and Yohan Blake (19.26). At the New York Grand Prix, Lyles finished the 200 in 19.83 seconds, marking the 34th time he ran 200 meters in less than 20 seconds. Lyles and Bolt are the only runners to hold that distinction.



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​“So when we’re not in an Olympic year, we need to be figuring out those things that are going to jump out to people,” Lyles told reporters afterward. “And one of those things is breaking a record of somebody who’s very well known in the sport.”

​In the 2024 Paris Olympics, Lyles’ motivation will mostly point toward collecting his first Olympic gold medal after finishing with bronze in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics in the 200-meter race. And he could eclipse Bolt as the fastest ever at 200 meters. Bolt, who won eight gold medals through three Olympic games (2008-16) for his native Jamaica, set the world record in the 2009 World Championships a year after running a previous best 19.3 seconds in the Beijing Olympics. ​

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Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images/Copyright 2023 NBAE

Will NBA star Stephen Curry play in his first Olympics?

​Passionate NBA fans might think that Curry already has accomplished everything imaginable on the hardwood. Curry has won four NBA championships. Curry has become the league’s all-time leading three-point shooter (3,390). And Curry has collected two regular-season MVPs and one Finals MVP trophy. But Curry has yet to participate in the Olympics, let alone win Olympic gold.

​USA Basketball would have gladly had Curry on the Olympics teams that won gold in Rio (2016) and Tokyo (2021). After helping Team USA win the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup, however, Curry missed the next two Olympic events for health reasons. He skipped the 2016 Rio Olympics to heal his injured right knee that he played through in the Warriors’ NBA Finals loss to Cleveland. Curry also missed the 2021 Tokyo Olympics in hopes of staying healthy for the Warriors’ eventual NBA title run and for when he would become eligible for a contract extension.

It seems safe to expect that USA Basketball will keep a roster spot open for Curry. He said this year that he plans to play in the 2024 Summer Games, especially since he has yet to represent his country on an Olympic stage. Though Curry’s commitment appears likely, it would also depend on whether he can avoid a major injury in his 15th NBA season. 

spinner image players on the united states women's basketball team celebrate their gold medal at the tokyo 2020 olympics
Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images

Can the U.S. women’s basketball team make history?

For nearly three decades, the U.S. women’s basketball team has been one of the best programs in Olympic history. It could win its eighth consecutive gold medal at the Paris 2024 games, which would eclipse U.S. men’s basketball for the longest gold-medal streak in team sport history (1936-68).

​Not only has the U.S. women’s basketball team collected gold medals in Atlanta (1996), Sydney (2000), Athens (2004), Beijing (2008), London (2012), Rio (2016) and Tokyo (2021), it has cemented a 55-game Olympic winning streak.

​In the gold medal game against Japan in Tokyo, Team USA set Olympic records with Brittney Griner’s 30 points (a U.S. Olympic gold medal game record) and A’ja Wilson’s five blocks (a U.S. Olympic women’s single-game record). In Paris, Team USA may pick up right where it left off. 

spinner image diana taurasi reacts while on the court during the women's gold medal game at the tokyo 2020 olympic games
Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

At age 42, Diana Taurasi could become the most accomplished player in USA Basketball

​Should she stay healthy, Taurasi expects to play in the 2024 Games for her sixth consecutive Olympic appearance.

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​“It’s on my radar,” Taurasi told the Associated Press. “I’m still competitive, still driven, still want to play, I still love being a part of USA Basketball.”

​If she receives her wish, Taurasi could set a record for most gold medals in her sport (six); former WNBA star Sue Bird won her fifth gold medal in the 2021 Tokyo Games before retiring. Taurasi, Bird, Lisa Leslie, Teresa Edwards, Tamika Catchings and Sylvia Fowles are the only women’s basketball players who have won at least four Olympic gold medals. 

Taurasi would set a program record for most Olympic games played (32) if she plays in Paris. Taurasi (now at 379 points) could also eclipse Leslie (488) as USA Basketball’s all-time leading scorer.

spinner image phillip dutton on his horse at the badminton horse trials
Photo by David Davies/PA Images via Getty Images

At 60 years old, equestrian Phillip Dutton will try to win his third Olympic gold medal

Should he succeed in the 2024 Summer Games, Dutton’s performance will partly have to do with another accomplished athlete — former NFL quarterback Tom Brady, who won seven Super Bowls in 23 seasons after retiring this year.

“He kind of proved that there’s no set age or number for when you can do your best,” Dutton told Sidelines Magazine. “Certainly, I think along those lines and don’t think there’s a set number when you have to stop.”

​It doesn’t appear Dutton will stop soon.

​He plans to participate in his eighth Olympics in hopes of winning his third gold medal and first since 2000. For his native Australia, Dutton won gold in a team event with his horse True Blue Girdwood in Atlanta and collected another gold medal with another horse, House Doctor, in Sydney. After becoming a U.S. citizen in 2006, Dutton competed for the U.S. equestrian team and won two gold medals in team events in the Pan American Games and a bronze in an individual event in Rio with his horse Mighty Nice. 

​Considering Dutton has not missed an Olympics or World Equestrian Games event since his debut in 1994, how long does he want to keep competing?

​"I’d like to go for as long as I can, but I also don’t want to be stupid about it,” Dutton told Sidelines. “I don’t see a retirement date at this stage. As long as I’m not embarrassing me or the family, I think I can keep going for a while!”

spinner image sydney mclaughlin wins the gold medal and sets a new world record in the 400 meter hurdles at the world athletics championship oregon22 in eugene oregon
Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

Will U.S. women’s track star Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone continue to set records?

Within only 13 months, McLaughlin-Levrone reset the world record in the 400-meter hurdles four times. Don’t be surprised if McLaughlin-Levrone sets a new mark during the Paris 2024 Olympics.

McLaughlin-Levrone already collected a pair of gold medals each at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics (400-meter hurdles, 4x400 meter relay) and the 2022 World Athletic Championships. In hopes of expanding her racing skills, McLaughlin-Levrone has branched out to the flat 400-meter event.

McLaughlin-Levrone has not raced in the 400-meter hurdles yet in 2023 in favor of challenging herself in other events. Once the Paris Games start, though, fully expect for McLaughlin-Levrone to compete in her signature event. Not only might she win a third medal, she might set a record, too.

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