1. Swimming: Florent Manaudou facing the untouchable Caeleb Dressel over 50 m (3h30)
Silver medalist in Rio, a tiny hundredth from the title, Florent Manaudou would probably not sulk a charm of the same metal in Tokyo, his third in the 50m freestyle. In front of him stands Caeleb Dressel, already quadruple Olympic champion in Japan. Author of a time of 21”32 in the heats, two hundredths of the Olympic record, the American should swim even faster on Sunday. A priori, no one is able to go as fast as him.
It remains to be seen how far the French can go. After his 21”65 in the playoffs and his best time of the season in the half (21”53), the London Olympic champion will fight with the Brazilian Bruno Fratus and the Greek Kristian Gkolomeev. And why not, if the gluttonous Dressel shows a sign of weakness, come and repeat his feat of 2012. Still deprived of a medal in Tokyo, French swimming is counting on him in any case.
2. BMX: Anthony Jeanjean to ignite the park (4h20)
Spectacular and modern, the BMX park event is a great spectacle. And, the icing on the cake, a Frenchman will try to climb on the first Olympic podium in the history of the discipline. Anthony Jeanjean, fourth in qualifying, has his chances for the final. European champion in 2019, the Habs admitted that they still had some under their feet and that they would be able to raise their level in the final. He will start in sixth position (the starting order is reversed compared to the classification in qualifying) and will be able to gauge the level of his opponents.
However, it will be difficult for him to tickle the toes of Australian Logan Martin, double world champion in 2017 and 2021 and superstar of the discipline. First in qualifying with a score of 91.90 points, he should wow Tokyo Park. To decide between the nine competitors, the best score of the two runs will be retained.
3. Volleyball: France-Brazil for a qualification in quarters (4:05)
Laurent Tillie’s gang has fluctuated between good and bad since the start of the Olympic tournament. Defeated by the United States (0-3) from the start, then by Argentina (2-3) in the third match, the Blues reacted each time against Tunisia (3-0) and Russia (3- 1). Here they are now at a turning point when it comes to challenging defending Olympic champion Brazil. A victory for Ervin Ngapeth’s teammates would automatically send them to the quarter-finals for the first time in the history of hexagonal volleyball. A defeat would not doom them the other way around.
But it would be necessary either to pocket two sets against Brazil, or to count on a victory of the United States, later (14:45), against Argentina, or to hope for an Argentinian victory before the tie-break. Not impossible, but you are never better served than by yourself. After the elimination from the pools in Rio, the French want to go a little further this year.
4. Fencing: the first assaults of the French foilists (3h45)
The silver medals of their sisters in arms and sabers on Saturday will surely give ideas to French foilists. Led by the 2019 world champion, Enzo Lefort, the Blues have the means to grab a podium in turn. He will be keen to redeem himself after his elimination in the quarterfinals of the individual event. The world number 3 will be accompanied by Maxime Pauty and Julien Mertine, respectively 16th and 25th in the world in the ranking of their discipline.
In the first round, the Habs will have to be wary of the Egyptians, opponents who are affordable on paper. The challenge promises to be great to win gold against the Italians or the Russians, but the French can surprise and do as well as in Rio, where they were adorned with silver with Enzo Lefort in their ranks.
Enzo Lefort has already known the scent of a team medal, in silver, in Rio. (Sports Press)
5. Swimming: Emma McKeon to become the sprint queen (3h37)
Moments after the expected coronation of Caeleb Dressel, Emma McKeon also has the opportunity to assert herself as the queen of sprinting. On her cloud since her 100m title, the 27-year-old Australian continued on the one-way leg by securing the Olympic record in the semi-finals. His last obstacle to the throne is probably called Pernille Blum. The Dane achieved, like her companion Florent Manaudou, the second time in the semi-finals in 24”08. Without forgetting the world record holder, the Swedish Sarah Sjöström.
Eight times medalist at the Olympics, including four this year, McKeon can at the same time join Ian Thorpe and Leisel Jones in the number of charms collected in the history of Australian swimming. A page of history may open, knowing that she can glean a tenth medal in the 4x100m medley relay, at the very end of the program (4:15).