Only the United States finished above Team GB in the medals table five years ago, with two of the 27 golds won coming in Athletics courtesy of Mo Farah, who successfully defended his 5,000 and 10,000 metre titles in Rio.
Team GB picked up five other medals at those Games in track and field events and with hopes high that even more success can be enjoyed in Tokyo, we have taken a look at which British athletes have the best chance in winning gold in 2021.
Asher-Smith Could be Britain’s Star in Tokyo
Sprinter Dina Asher-Smith is perhaps the most likely British athlete to claim gold this summer and she could replicate Farah by winning two events at the Games, as she is likely to be one of the favourites in both the 100 and 200 metres.
The 25-year-old was a rising star when she went to the Rio Games in 2016, helping Team GB win bronze in the women’s 4×100 metre relay, while she came a respectable fifth in the 200 metre final.
However, since then Asher-Smith has matured into one of the best athletes on the planet, with her talents particularly coming to the fore when she won gold in the 200 metres at the 2019 World Championships, while she also picked silver in the 100 metres in Doha.
That performance showed that Asher-Smith is capable of winning on the global stage and she may well be hitting peak form ahead of this summer’s Games, as she produced a season’s-best time of 22.06 to win the 200 metres at last week’s Diamond League meeting in Florence.
Muir Could Make Scotland Proud
It is not just sprinting where Britain could enjoy success in Tokyo, as in Laura Muir, they also have middle-distance runner capable of challenging for gold.
Muir came seventh in the 1500 metres in Rio and she has been a consistent performer since then, building further major competition experience by finishing fourth and fifth at the last two World Championships.
The 28-year-old has also proven herself a winner on the big stage when she claimed gold at the 2018 European Championships, while she has also medalled in both European and World indoor competitions.
Winning Olympic gold in the 1500 metres would represent a huge step up for Muir, but maybe it would not be too much of a surprise given the consistency she has shown over recent years.
Johnson-Thompson Aiming to Replicate Ennis-Hill
The early part of heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson’s career was spent in the shadow of 2012 Olympic champion Jessica Ennis-Hill, but since the latter’s retirement in 2016, the 28-year-old has firmly taken centre stage.
It has not all been plain sailing for Johnson-Thompson, as she only finished sixth at 2016 Olympics, while she also failed to medal at the following year’s World Championships in London.
However, the Liverpudlian secured her greatest achievement to date at the Worlds in 2019, as she not only claimed gold in Doha, but she set a new National Record of 6,981 points as she impressively dethroned Belgium’s Nafi Thiam.
Johnson-Thompson may have to replicate that kind of performance if she is to claim gold in Tokyo, but she certainly has proven herself capable of rising to the challenge.