U.S. seeks to extend Summer Games dominance at Paris 2024

Gymnast Simone Biles is among the most-decorated Americans expected to compete in the 2024 Summer Games. File Photo by Richard Ellis/UPI
1 of 5 | Gymnast Simone Biles is among the most-decorated Americans expected to compete in the 2024 Summer Games. File Photo by Richard Ellis/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 22 (UPI) -- Most of the 10,500 athletes at the 2024 Summer Games will be tasked with slowing a trend of American dominance. Team USA is primed to grow its dynasty, with familiar icons vying to add to their legacies.

Fans will get to see the meticulously calibrated competitors sooner than ever before, with the typical break time between the Summer Games shortened from four to three years because 2020's pandemic-postponed competition was held in 2021.


The 2024 Summer Games will run from July 24 through Aug. 11 in Paris.

"Our biggest pressure is getting to be where we want to be as a team," U.S. women's water polo goalie Ashleigh Johnson said on the Team USA website.

"This cycle is unique because we haven't had as much time together. We've really gotten some space to explore ourselves as individuals. ... Now it's time to lose that balance."


Athletes will compete across 32 sports at the Summer Games, which will feature 329 medal events.

NBC will air the games across its platforms. Viewers will need to coordinate watch times based on a forward time difference in Paris of six hours, compared to the East Coast of the United States.

Many familiar faces, like swimmers Caeleb Dressel and Katie Ledecky and other decorated Team USA stars won't get their tickets stamped for Paris 2024 until they pass through Olympic trials.

"I'm super excited," Ledecky told the Big Friendly Swim Podcast. "I know Olympic trials will be really exciting this coming year at Lucas Oil Stadium [in Indianapolis]. I feel like I have a lot of experience under my belt. I'm going to try to use that experience to carry me."

Teams for surfing, basketball, soccer and artistic gymnastics are among those already qualified for Paris. Additional trials will be held Feb. 3 (marathon), April 19-20 (wrestling), June 15-23 (swimming and diving), June 21-30 (track and field) and June 27-30 (gymnastics). Other team sports will finalize their rosters in the months before the Summer Games.

Athletes from swimming, track and field and women's gymnastics appear most likely to fuel the American medal count, as they did in Tokyo 2020 and at previous Olympic competitions.


USA dominance

Team USA secured the most overall medals and gold medals at each of the last three Summer Games. Athletes in swimming and track and field captured 55 medals -- or 48.6% of the U.S. medal total from Tokyo, led by 18 won by women swimmers.

Dressel led the Americans with five medals in Tokyo, contributing to an Olympic-high 113 medals for the Americans. Team USA edged second-place China (89) for the most overall, and China's 38 gold medals were one behind the Americans.

Team USA has won the most medals (2,959) in Olympics history, but has been more dominant in the Summer Games than in the Winter Games. The Americans' 2,629 Summer Games medals are 1,619 more than the second-place Soviet Union.

The Americans trail first-place Norway (405 to 330) in Winter Games medals.

The women's water polo team is among the most consistent winners, and is expected reach the podium again in Paris. The team won the gold medals at the last three Summer Games and had a 69-game winning streak between 2018 and 2020.

Goalie Ashleigh Johnson, utility player Maggie Steffens and attackers Maddie Musselman and Rachel Fattal are among the top players expected to compete in Paris.


Team USA's gymnastics team also is taking shape. Simone Biles, aiming to compete in the Olympics for the fourth time, is among several U.S. athletes with a handful of medals on their resume.

Biles, arguably the greatest gymnast in history, was unable to conquer what participants in the sport call the "twisties" and withdrew from several finals in Tokyo. She launched a comeback in August, bringing a shifted mentality back to the mat.

"We've kinda been playing on the down-low this time, making sure that mentally and physically, we are intact," Biles told the Today program. "I think it will be different, but it'll be good."

This Summer Games will be the first since 2000 without track star Allyson Felix. The legendary sprinter, was the most-decorated U.S. Olympian (11 medals) in Tokyo, but retired after the 2022 season.

Ledecky (10 medals) is expected to be the most-decorated American to compete in Paris, with Dressel (7) and Biles (7) among other prolific performers who could be in action.

Gymnast Suni Lee, a breakout start in Tokyo, also could add to the total of three medals she won at the 2020 Summer Games.

Americans from recently-added Olympic sports also could provide a boost. Carissa Moore, the No. 2 women's surfer in the world, won gold at the 2020 Summer Games, when surfing made its Olympic debut. Moore and world No. 1 Caroline Marks are among the surfers already qualified for the Summer Games.


In surfing, Men's No. 3 Griffin Colapinto and No. 8 John John Florence also qualified for the Americans.

Sha'Carri Richardson, Noah Lyles, Athing Mu and Sydney McLaughlin are expected to be among the top American track stars competing in Paris.

Soccer and basketball rosters for Team USA also will feature stars from those sports, but rosters are not finalized.

Kevin Durant and Joel Embiid are among the NBA players who have committed to playing in Paris. LeBron James and Stephen Curry said they're interested. Brittney Griner, Diana Taurasi, A'ja Wilson and Breanna Stewart are among the top women's players who could suit up for Team USA.

As in previous Olympics, the United States Women's National Team is favored to take home a gold medal in women's soccer. Americans Lindsey Horan and Rose Lavelle could be the familiar faces in Paris, while Trinity Rodman and Sofia Smith are among other players expected to represent Team USA.

What's different?

The most notable difference for athletes returning to Olympic competition will be the shorter time for Summer Games preparation.

Throughout history, athletes typically prepared for some 1,300 to 1,500 days -- or 43 to 50 months -- before the Summer Games. Previous stoppages because of wars and COVID-19 expanded those windows, including the nearly 1,800-day (60-month) break between the 2016 and 2020 competitions.


The 1,081-day (36-month) window between the 2020 and 2024 Summer Games is the shortest in history.

The most-visual difference for Paris 2024 viewers will be the start of the events, which will not be inside a stadium, but rather on a river.

The opening ceremony will be July 26 on the Seine, the nearly 500-mile-long river that runs through Paris and flows alongside the Eiffel Tower.

Among for new sports, breakdancing will make its Olympic debut. Baseball and softball will not be among the sports in the Paris Games, but table tennis, archery and BMX racing will.

The Games also will feature an equal number of male and female athletes for the first time in history.

Soccer and rugby will be the first sports to start competition, and Olympic events will be contested in more than a dozen cities. Surfing competitions will be held in Tahiti, France's Polynesian territory.

"It's going to be in Tahiti, which is so special," American surfer Caroline Marks told the Team USA website. "To have a chance to compete for a medal there is just incredible, and to represent your country is pretty amazing."

Simone Biles' career: Gymnast, gold medalist, record breaker

Simone Biles performs in the floor exercise at the Women's Olympic Gymnastic Trials at the SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., on July 10, 2016. Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI | License Photo

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