Which athletics world records could be broken at Tokyo 2020 Olympics? The full list of track and field records

While it’s extremely unlikely that Usain Bolt’s incredible times will be bettered at Tokyo 2020, these are the world records that could realistically be broken when the athletics gets started

Letesenbet Gidey, Karsten Warholm and Sydney Mclaughlin will be hoping for Olympic glory in Tokyo (Graphic: Kim Hall / JPI / Getty)

With the track action just around the corner at the Olympic Games, many fans are already getting excited.

But which superstars competing in Tokyo are most likely to etch their names into history and become world record holders?

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Karsten Warholm - Men’s 400m Hurdles

Norway's Karsten Warholm competes in the Men's 400m Hurdles during the IAAF Diamond League competition on July 9, 2021 in Monaco. (Photo by CLEMENT MAHOUDEAU / AFP)

Norwegian hurdling sensation Warholm is in excellent form heading into the Tokyo Games after breaking the world record for the discipline this month in Oslo.

The 25-year-old from Ulsteinvik set a time of 46.70s, breaking American Kevin Young’s previous record which had stood for almost 30 years. The reigning world champion will not have an easy path to victory though, as he will compete against a stacked field which includes American Rai Benjamin, who ranks as the third fastest in history in the event.

Off the track, Warholm’s hobbies include building LEGO and spending time with his family. Only time will tell if he can better his own record in Tokyo.

Warholm begins his campaign in the heats on Friday (30 July).

Sydney Mclaughlin - Women’s 400m Hurdles

Sydney McLaughlin wins the Women’s 400 Metres Hurdles during day ten of the 2020 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials at Hayward Field on June 27, 2021 in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Another current world record holder and another 400m hurdler, Sydney Mclaughlin is in stellar form. After breaking the world record this June at the USA Olympic Trials in Oregon, there is no questioning that the 21-year-old is the favourite for gold.

Despite her young age, Mclaughlin has been well known in the track and field world for some time, particularly after qualifying for the Rio games aged only 16.

Whilst she only reached the semi finals in Brazil, Mclaughlin gained widespread recognition for being one of Team USA’s youngest ever Olympians to compete on the track.

However a win and a world record for Mclaughlin in Tokyo is no guarantee. She will face tough competition in the form of fellow American Dalilah Muhamma and Dutch athlete Femke Bol.

Mclaughlin will get going in the heats on Saturday (31 July).

Letesenbet Gidey - Women’s 10,000m

Ethiopian athlete Letesenbet Gidey waves an Ethiopian national flag as she celebrates after breaking the 5,000m world record during the NN Valencia World Record Day at the Turia stadium in Valencia on October 7, 2020

Ethiopian Letesenbet Gidey’s recent form seems to be on a different level. The 23-year-old has set world records in both the 5000m (October 2020) and the 10,000m (June 2021).

Despite the fact she has run faster than any other woman in history, the 23-year-old does not have many titles to her name, with the exception of a silver medal in the 10,000m from the 2019 World Championships.

Before her career started however Gidey was not keen on running at all. After getting suspended from school for refusing to run in PE classes, the headmaster agreed to let her return to the classroom if she competed for the school. With her parents' support she reluctantly agreed.

Hailing from the Tigray region within Ethiopia, Gidey has had to relocate due to the brutal civil war - in spite of this her fitness looks to be impeccable heading into the games.

She will compete next Saturday (7 August) in the 10,000m.

Grant Holloway - Mens 110m Hurdles

Devon Allen, Grant Holloway and Trey Cunningham compete in the Men's 110 Meters Hurdle Final on day nine of the 2020 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials at Hayward Field on June 26, 2021 in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

In the process of finishing in first place during the USA Olympic Trials in June, 23-year-old Grant Holloway came within 0.01 seconds of the 110m Hurdles world record.

After a highly successful collegiate career in the NCAA competing for the University of Florida, Holloway is looking to make his mark as a professional runner.

At one stage in Holloway’s life it seemed as though he might be heading for a career in a different sport. The six foot two man from Chesapeake, Virginia was a successful American Football player during his high school days and received scholarship opportunities in the sport from top programmes.

In the end though Holloway’s heart was set on athletics. He will begin his quest to break the world record and achieve Olympic glory during the 110m heats next Tuesday (3 August).

Joshua Cheptegei - Men’s 5000m

Joshua Cheptegei waves an Uganda national flag as he celebrates after breaking the 10,000m track world record during the NN Valencia World Record Day at the Turia stadium in Valencia on October 7, 2020

The reigning 10,000m World Champion and 5000m world record holder, Joshua Cheptegei has a very impressive resume for a 24-year-old.

Competing in both the long distance events in Tokyo, the Ugandan athlete will be looking to set a fast pace from the gun in the 5000m. Over this distance he will face a competitive field including many fast finishers such as Spaniard Mohamed Katir and Norwegian Jakob Ingebrigsten.

If Cheptegei goes out hard there is a high chance that he could end up breaking his own world record. The Ugandan is a family man and is employed by the national police force, and viewers will have to wait until the 5000m Final next Friday (6 August) to see if he can lay down the law on the track.

The full list of track world records:

The full list of field world records:

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