During Tokyo 2020 Finals Postponed: Virtual Form Guide & League Of Olympic Swim Legends

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games would have unfolded this week - in the void, Swimming World provides a virtual vision of what was and what is yet too be Photo Courtesy: Pixabay

Editorial content for the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games coverage is sponsored by GMX7.
See full event coverage. Follow GMX7 on Instagram at @GMX7training #gmx7


What do you think would have unfolded had the Tokyo 2020 Games gone ahead as planned this week – and where would it all have fit in the thread of Olympic swim legends of yesteryear?

To mark the eight days over which swimming finals at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games would have unfolded had the coronavirus pandemic not forced postponement, the team at Swimming World is filling the void with a look at the key protagonists in each event, their relative strengths and a hint at how the racing might have panned out up to the closing metres of battle.

We won’t be calling races. You, the readers and fans, may imagine the ends of races, the podiums filling with the names we know, conscious, perhaps, that there will also be names we know but haven’t factored in and names we don’t know so well who, in the extra year of preparation ahead, may write their achievements into the book of Olympic history when Tokyo202One unfolds in the same week one year on. 

Whatever your thoughts and virtual picks among real people working to create their futures, consider the impact of writing people in and others out as you ponder these wise words:

“Never make predictions, especially about the future.” – Yogi Berra

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

In parallel to our virtual-vision exercise, our editors Craig Lord and John Lohn will also follow the Tokyo2020 schedule in bringing you our League of Olympic Swim Legends, event by event.

The League trawls Olympic swimming history all the way back to 1896 and, using a points system built to help us compare the relative strengths of the great champions down the decades, we will bring you, in each event:

  • A podium of all-time greats
  • The line-up for an all-time final
  • A review outlining the relatives strengths of the protagonists down the years
  • a memory of the (our one of the) actual final(s) won by the winner of our all-time battle
  • … and, just for good measure, one of our favourite finals down the decades

How to make such selections when so much cannot be compared? Well, the first thing to realise is that Weissmuller did not and could never have raced Wenden, SpitzBiondiPopov, Van Den Hoogenband, Adrian, Chalmers et al: its virtual fun.

Beyond that, we measure relative strengths purely on Olympic results (World Championships and much else do not apply down the stretch of 124 years of history and the achievements of our Olympic Swim Legends.

We consider gold medals won, medals won, World records set, titles retained, podiums revisited, take into account outstanding pioneering pace and the longevity of the swimmer and the pace. Inevitably, some greats who came, conquered and left the fast lane all too soon will struggle to make podiums based on such points, while other challenges involve what to do about boycotts and the folk who set many world records in events that were not on the Olympic program in their day.

One thing we’re clear about: no swimmer suspended for doping makes it into the League of Legends – and that includes bypassing all results known to have been produced as a result of systematic doping, such as State Plan 14:25 in the GDR.

We hope you’ll join in the fun by leaving your arguments for different outcomes in our comments section – and tell us if you feel we’ve overlooked a relative strength at any point in our Tokyo 2020 Vision series and parallel League of Olympic Swim Legends features that will follow the Tokyo 2020 schedule.

We’ll collate the links to all pieces on this article as we shift through the days.

On your marks …

Day 1

League of Olympic Swim Legends

Tokyo Vision

Notify of

Welcome to our community. We invite you to join our discussion. Our community guidelines are simple: be respectful and constructive, keep on topic, and support your fellow commenters. Commenting signifies that you agree to our Terms of Use

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x