Defending champions aim to dominate again on the water

By The Associated Press — HIGHLIGHTS FROM RIO: Hungary’s Danuta Kozák was the star, winning gold in three of the four women’s competitions in the kayak single, pairs and four 500 meters. She was the first woman to win three kayak golds in a single Olympics.

WHAT’S NEW: The women’s single and double canoe sprint are new events, added after the 2016 Rio Games to provide gender equity. Men and women will compete in four kayak events and two canoe events.

TOKYO EXPECTATIONS: While historically dominated by Europe, the gap is closing with the emergence of China, Brazil and New Zealand in recent years, with those countries winning gold at the 2019 world championships. The races will be held at the Sea Forest Waterway on Tokyo Bay.

ATHLETES TO WATCH: Great Britain’s Liam Heath is the defending gold medalist in the men’s kayak 200 … Germany’s Sebastian Brendel of Germany is a two-time gold medalist in the men’s canoe 1,000 … New Zealand’s Lisa Carrington won the women’s kayak 200 in 2012 and 2016 and is unbeaten in the World Championships since 2011. She will compete in all four kayak events … American teenager Nevin Harrison is a gold medal favorite in the women’s canoe sprint 200. She won the world championship at age 17 in 2019 … Moldova’s Serghei Tarnovschi returns after a four-year suspension for a positive doping test that stripped him of his 2016 bronze in the men’s canoe 1,000.

GOLD MEDAL MOMENT(S): Aug. 3: men’s canoe double 1,000 and kayak single 1,000, women’s kayak single 200 and kayak double 500; Aug. 5: men’s kayak single 200 and kayak double 1,000, women’s canoe single 200 and kayak single 500; Aug. 7: men’s canoe single 1,000 and kayak four 500; women’s canoe double 500 and kayak four 500.