Get ready for a summer full of blockbuster events as Olympic hopefuls continue to work toward 2024 and the XXXIII Olympic Games in Paris. The most decorated Olympic athletes are expected to compete this summer during U.S. and world championship events in swimming, track & field and gymnastics while the U.S. women's national soccer team will attempt to win a third consecutive World Cup title. This summer, these prestigious events will help define the paths to Paris for athletes in the U.S. and around the world.
Opening up a summer of top tier Olympic sport competitions, U.S. swimmers will race at the U.S. Championships, aka Nationals, from June 27-July 1. At this meet U.S. swimmers will qualify for the 2023 World Championships which will begin in Fukuoka, Japan just 13 days after the final swimmers exit the pool in Indianapolis.
After COVID caused disruptions to the world championship schedule, World Aquatics has decided to hold these high-profile meets in four consecutive years from 2022-2025. The world championship meet in 2024 is set for February, just months ahead of the Olympic Games in Paris.
This summer’s world championships in Fukuoka, where there will also be competitions held for other Olympic disciplines including diving, water polo, open water swimming and artistic swimming, could offer a valuable sneak peek of a potential 2024 U.S. Olympic Swim Team, however U.S. athletes will not officially swim for an Olympic bid until the U.S. Olympic Team Trials next June in Indianapolis.
Seven-time Olympic gold medalist Katie Ledecky is expected to continue her career of dominance this season. Ledecky won all four of her events at the 2022 World Championships and she remains the Olympic favorite in two of those events – the 800m freestyle and 1500m freestyle. Ledecky is a medal contender in the 400m freestyle as well as a valuable component to the women's 4x200m freestyle team. Getting to the podium in these races has become more complicated for Ledecky and Co. with the emergence of international challengers such as Australia’s Ariarne Titmus and Canada’s Summer McIntosh.
In Tokyo, Caeleb Dressel led all athletes (in any sport) when he won five gold medals. Dressel raced at the 2022 World Championships in Budapest where he collected two world titles, then withdrew from the event.
USA Swimming released a statement following Dressel's withdrawal stating, "After conferring with Caeleb, his coaches and the medical staff, a decision has been made to withdraw him from the FINA World Championships in Budapest, Hungary. Our priority is and will always be the health of our athletes and we will continue to give Caeleb the assistance he needs to recover quickly."
Dressel was silent following his exit at Worlds in June, then in early September of last year he posted a message on social media to share what he had been up to during the more than two months since he left Budapest. Dressel revealed he had not been in a pool since world championships. Photos showed Dressel enjoying a variety of new adventures, including a delayed honeymoon with his wife in Iceland.
On NBC Sports’ monthly series Chasing Gold: Paris 2024, three-time Olympic gold medalist and NBC Olympics swimming analyst Rowdy Gaines said he suggested to Dressel that he take up to six months off after the Tokyo Olympics. Gaines believes Dressel will need three months to get back into his training routine, and noted there would be plenty of time for Dressel to prepare for another Olympic campaign.
|Date||Event||Where to Watch|
|Jun 27-Jul 1||Phillips 66 National Championships - Indianapolis, Indiana||Peacock, NBC, NBC Sports App|
|Jul 14-30||20th World Aquatics World Championships 2023 - Fukuoka, Japan||Peacock, NBC, NBC Sports App|
Track & Field
The track & field season will hit its stride this summer when the 2023 Toyota USATF Outdoor Championships get underway in Eugene, Oregon from July 6-9. From August 19-27, athletes from around the world will see how they measure up against their international counterparts at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary.
In 2022, the World Athletics Championships were held on U.S. soil for the first time in history and the U.S. men seized the opportunity to improve upon a disappointing showing at the Tokyo Olympics, this time in front of fans. World titles were won by U.S. sprinters Fred Kerley, Noah Lyles, Michael Norman and Grant Holloway with U.S. men sweeping podiums in the 100m and 200m events.
The U.S. women remained consistent, with reigning Olympic champions Athing Mu and Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone winning two gold medals each, one in their individual events and another as part of the U.S.' 4x400m relay team.
Ahead of the Olympics in Paris, a will-she-or-won’t-she question circles McLaughlin-Levrone who has shown a desire to enter the open 400m. McLaughlin-Levrone already owns the world record for the women's 400m hurdles. The women’s 400m world record of 47.60 seconds is the longest-standing world record in any men’s or women’s sprint event – set in 1985 by East Germany’s Marita Koch.
At next summer's Olympics in Paris, none of semifinals or finals for either the women's 400m or 400m hurdles are scheduled for the same day, making McLaughlin-Levrone's attempt to run both a possibility.
McLaughlin-Levrone’s split in the women’s 4x400m relay at the 2022 World Championships was 47.91 seconds, and just so happened to be the second-fastest split in the last 33 years behind a split run by the recently-retired Allyson Felix.
|Date||Event||Where to Watch|
|Jul 6-9||2023 Toyota USATF Outdoor Championships - Eugene, Oregon||Peacock, CNBC, NBC Sports App|
|Aug 19-27||World Athletics Championships 2023 - Budapest, Hungary||Peacock, NBC, USA, CNBC, NBC Sports App|
For the first time two nations will share the hosting duties for a FIFA World Cup. The top women’s soccer players from 32 nations will head down under to play for the sport’s top prize with matches being held in both Australia and New Zealand.
This summer, the U.S. women will be playing for a third consecutive World Cup title. Despite their status as the two-time defending World Cup champions, the U.S. has not been able to reach an Olympic soccer final since winning a third straight gold medal at the London Olympics in 2012. Canada enters the World Cup as the reigning Olympic champions.
The USWNT roster at this year’s World Cup is expected to include mainstays Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan, Becky Sauerbrunn and Alyssa Naeher as well as a long list of young stars like Mallory Pugh and Sophia Smith. Pugh was on the 2019 World Cup-winning U.S. squad while Smith is expected to make her World Cup debut.
Pugh and Smith, both Colorado natives, won starting roles for the U.S. team back in 2022. Smith’s 15 goals during the 2022 National Women’s Soccer League season was second only to Alex Morgan’s 16 goals. Pugh tied the league lead in assists with six, while also scoring 11 goals.
No date has been set for U.S. head coach Vlatko Andonovski to officially announce his World Cup roster, but the news should come soon after a pair of April friendlies against Ireland.
World Cup group stage matches begin on July 20 and conclude on August 3. The knockout round matches are scheduled to start on August 5 with the final taking place on August 20.
|Date||Event||Where to Watch|
|Jul 20-Aug 20||FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023||Telemundo, Universo, Peacock (Spanish language)|
|Group A||New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Switzerland|
|Group B||Australia, Ireland, Nigeria, Canada|
|Group C||Spain, Costa Rica, Zambia, Japan|
|Group D||England, Haiti, Denmark, China|
|Group E||United States, Vietnam, Netherlands, Portugal|
|Group F||France, Jamaica, Brazil, Panama|
|Group G||Sweden, South Africa, Italy, Argentina|
|Group H||Germany, Morocco, Colombia, South Korea|
Elite U.S. gymnasts will descend upon San Jose, California in late summer for four days of competition during the U.S. Gymnastics Championships from August 24-27. One month later, those top U.S. performers in San Jose will take their talents to Antwerp, Belgium for the FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships.
At the Tokyo Olympics, Rebeca Andrade became the first Brazilian woman to win an Olympic medal in gymnastics (gold on vault, silver in the all-around behind the U.S.’ Suni Lee). Her success continued at last year’s world championships where she became the first gymnast from any South American nation to win an all-around title. Andrade's consistency has resulted in her status as the favorite to win all-around gold in Paris next year.
The U.S. did not leave last year’s world championships empty handed. Shilese Jones, Jade Carey, Jordan Chiles, Leanne Wong and Skye Blakely joined forces to win the U.S.’ sixth consecutive team world title.
Jones, Chiles and Carey also won two individual world championship medals apiece in 2022. Jones won silver in the all-around and uneven bars, Carey took home vault gold and a shared bronze on floor with Andrade. Chiles finished with a silver on vault and another on floor.
The gymnastics world still on hold regarding detailed Paris 2024 plans from two U.S. gymnastics superstars – four-time Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles and reigning Olympic all-around champion Suni Lee.
Biles has said she expects to be in Paris, however she has not revealed which role she will play following her decision to pull herself out of competition for her own safety and well-being during the Tokyo Olympics.
Biles has remained in the spotlight, appearing in her own Snapchat series titled Daring Simone Biles. She also announced her engagement to Houston Texans safety Jonathan Owens last February and the two are expected to officially tie the knot in 2023.
Following her all-around gold medal win in Tokyo, Lee returned to Auburn to compete during her sophomore season, after which she intended to leave college and resume elite gymnastics training for a run at Paris. However, this spring she was forced out of competition due to non-gymnastics related health issues involving her kidneys. Despite the setback, she said she would continue to pursue the chance to compete at another Olympic Games.
All this, plus 2012 Olympic all-around champ Gabby Douglas caught everyone's attention with a tweet late last year that included a photo of her lined up for training at the World Olympic Gymnastics Academy in Texas.
For the U.S. men, Brody Malone was the lone standout at Worlds in 2022. Malone became just the second U.S. athlete to win high bar world championships gold, and finished just off the podium in fourth in the all-around.
|Date||Event||Where to Watch|
|Aug 24-27||U.S. Gymnastics Championships - San Jose, California||Peacock, NBC, CNBC, NBC Sports App|
|Sep 30-Oct 8||FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships - Antwerp, Belgium||TBA|