Olympic dreams and home Euros hopes – talking points for 2021’s year of sport

PA

The sporting year ahead is set to feature some huge events that were rescheduled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The next 12 months could also see a certain all-British mega fight finally take place and a knight create more history behind the wheel.

Here, the PA news agency looks at some of the talking points ahead of a huge year of sport.

The pandemic

The Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics were postponed by a year due to the coronavirus pandemic (Adam Davy/PA).
The Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics were postponed by a year due to the coronavirus pandemic (Adam Davy/PA).

After the cancellations, postponements and various other ways in which the pandemic affected sport during 2020, it remains to be seen how things are impacted over the months ahead. Showpieces that were moved to 2021 include the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo and football’s European Championship, while the calendar also features a British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa and an England-hosted rugby league World Cup. The hope is for a great spectacle in front of crowds, with so much of the sporting action that there was in 2020 happening behind closed doors.

The Tokyo Games

Dina Asher-Smith hopes to add to her 2019 World Championship success at the Tokyo Olympics (Mike Egerton/PA).
Dina Asher-Smith hopes to add to her 2019 World Championship success at the Tokyo Olympics (Mike Egerton/PA).

The Olympics is scheduled to get under way in July and there will be considerable focus on Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith and Katarina Johnson-Thompson, who are both looking for maiden Olympic golds having had 2019 World Championship success in the 200 metres and heptathlon respectively. Adam Peaty is set to defend his 100m breaststroke title, while Alice Tai is a major medal hope in the swimming at the Paralympics, which is due to start in August.

Home Nations gear up for the Euros

Gareth Southgate's England are set to face Scotland at the European Championship (Neil Hall/PA).
Gareth Southgate's England are set to face Scotland at the European Championship (Neil Hall/PA).

The men’s Euros is set to take place from June 11 to July 11, in 12 host cities – and the opportunity is there for England to lift the trophy on home soil, with the semis and final being played at Wembley. The three group fixtures Gareth Southgate’s men are scheduled to play at the stadium include a mouth-watering clash with Scotland, who have qualified for a first major tournament since the 1998 World Cup. Wales have also secured a spot at the finals.

The Battle of Britain

Anthony Joshua (right) wants to fight Tyson Fury next after his win against Kubrat Pulev (Andrew Couldridge/PA).
Anthony Joshua (right) wants to fight Tyson Fury next after his win against Kubrat Pulev (Andrew Couldridge/PA).

A much-anticipated showdown between Anthony Joshua and fellow world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury could at last become reality in the summer of 2021. Joshua, who defended his WBA, IBF and WBO belts with a ninth-round knockout of Kubrat Pulev on December 12, recently emphasised his desire to fight Fury next, adding that his expectation was “maybe June”. Those comments came a few days after WBC title-holder Fury said: “Next year, the fight has to happen.”

New heights for Hamilton?

I been thinking of all those who voted to support me last night, I am truly so grateful. Thank you to the British public for this honour, it means the most because it comes from you. I’m sending you all positivity. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. #SPOTYpic.twitter.com/yLs6znMFqK

— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) December 21, 2020

Lewis Hamilton will set a new record for Formula One world titles if he adds another to his incredible CV in 2021. The 35-year-old, who was knighted in the New Year Honours list and also recently voted the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year, moved level with Michael Schumacher on seven when he claimed the 2020 title. Hamilton has already surpassed the German in terms of the highest number of career race wins.

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