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's competitions 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 raced at the U.S. Championships, aka Nationals, from June 27-July 1. At this meet U.S. swimmers qualified for the 2023 World Championships in Fukuoka, Japan.
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 2024 World Championships are 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.
Over the first few days of competition, seven-time Olympic gold medalist Katie Ledecky has proven she's still one of the most dominant swimmers in the pool. Ledecky claimed gold in the 1500m freestyle by over 17 seconds, and in the process tied Michael Phelps' record of 15 career individual gold medals at the world championships.
Two years ago in Tokyo, Caeleb Dressel led all athletes (in any sport) when he won five Olympic gold medals. Dressel raced at the 2022 World Championships in Budapest where he collected two world titles, then withdrew from the event.
Dressel competed sparingly before the U.S. Championships, and finished third, fifth, 19th and tied for 22nd (in the heats) in his four events at nationals.
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.
|Where to Watch
|Jun 27-Jul 1
|Phillips 66 National Championships - Indianapolis, Indiana
|Peacock, NBC, NBC Sports App
|20th World Aquatics World Championships 2023 - Fukuoka, Japan
|Peacock, NBC, NBC Sports App
Track & Field
The track & field season hit its stride this summer when the 2023 Toyota USATF Outdoor Championships were held 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 as she starts to compete in the women's 400m flat. McLaughlin-Levrone is the defending Olympic champion in the 400m hurdles, where she also owns the world record. At the 2023 Outdoor Championships, she won the 400m flat with a time of 48.76 seconds. 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 the semifinals or finals for either the women's 400m or 400m hurdles are scheduled for the same day, making an attempt to run both a possibility.
|Where to Watch
|2023 Toyota USATF Outdoor Championships - Eugene, Oregon
|Peacock, CNBC, NBC Sports App
|World Athletics Championships 2023 - Budapest, Hungary
|Peacock, NBC, USA, CNBC, NBC Sports App
For the first time two nations, Australia and New Zealand, 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.
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 the London Olympics in 2012. Canada enters the World Cup as the reigning Olympic champions.
The USWNT roster at this year’s World Cup will include four players with double-digit World Cup cap numbers. Frontline mainstays Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan are back along with midfielder Julie Ertz and defender Kelley O’Hara. However, in a big blow to the U.S., their injured team captain Becky Sauerbrunn will be staying home to rehab a foot injury she’s had to deal with since April.
A total of 14 players make up the list of first-time World Cup roster spot earners which includes forward Sophia Smith, midfielder Savannah DeMelo and the second-youngest player to ever rep the U.S. at a World Cup, 18-year-old Alyssa Thompson.
Take a look at the full USWNT World Cup roster on NBCSports.com.
World Cup group stage matches began on July 20 and will conclude on August 3. The knockout round matches are scheduled to start on August 5 with the final taking place on August 20.
|Where to Watch
|Jul 20-Aug 20
|FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023
|Telemundo, Universo, Peacock (Spanish language)
|New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Switzerland
|Australia, Ireland, Nigeria, Canada
|Spain, Costa Rica, Zambia, Japan
|England, Haiti, Denmark, China
|United States, Vietnam, Netherlands, Portugal
|France, Jamaica, Brazil, Panama
|Sweden, South Africa, Italy, Argentina
|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 got a surprise on June 28, 2023 when USA Gymnastics announced Simone Biles would return to elite competition at the 2023 U.S. Classic in August. Biles put her career on hold after she decided to withdraw from competition during the Tokyo Olympics.
Biles has remained in the spotlight, appearing in her own Snapchat series titled Daring Simone Biles. She also got married, tying the knot with football player Jonathan Owens in May.
Plans for the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for gymnastics have been made public and the event will be staged in Minneapolis, the Twin City to St. Paul, hometown of the reigning Olympic all-around champion Suni Lee.
Lee was part of the trials announcement, which will be held on June 27-30, 2024.
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 announced on Instagram in July that she'll be returning to competition as well.
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.
|Where to Watch
|U.S. Gymnastics Championships - San Jose, California
|Peacock, NBC, CNBC, NBC Sports App
|Sep 30-Oct 8
|FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships - Antwerp, Belgium