After a year’s delay due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, the 2020 Olympics are set to kick off in Tokyo on July 23, 2021. Even though the events are technically taking place in 2021, they’re still called the 2020 Olympics. The bad news is that international spectators aren’t allowed—but that doesn’t mean you can’t still watch the Games, either on TV or on an internet-connected device. Here, we’ve got answers to your most pressing questions about how to watch the Tokyo Summer Olympics.
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Question 1 Question 1 of 8:What broadcasters are airing the Tokyo Olympics?
The channels airing Olympic events vary depending on your country. Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS) generates the television broadcasts for all of the Olympic events and distributes them to national channels. Broadcast networks bid for the right to air the events, so the carrier varies depending on where you live. These broadcasters include:
- NBCUniversal (US)
- CBC (Canada)
- BBC (UK)
- Discovery/Eurosport (Europe)
- KBS/MBC/SBS (South Korea)
- NHK/Japan Consortium (Japan)
Question 2 Question 2 of 8:Where can I watch the Olympics on the internet?
The same networks that hold broadcast rights typically also stream events. Most broadcasters have websites and mobile apps you can access to stream Olympic events. While some require a subscription, many are available for free.
- US: Peacock (subscription-based; 7-day free trial available)
- UK: BBC, iPlayer
- Canada: Sportsnet, TSN, CBC
- Australia: 7Plus
- New Zealand: TVNZ OnDemand, SkyGo
- Europe: Discovery, Eurosport
- Indian subcontinent: Sony Pictures Network
Question 3 Question 3 of 8:When do the Tokyo Olympics start?
The Olympics kick off with the Opening Ceremony at 8 p.m. on July 23. If you live in a different time zone, check local listings to find out when you can watch the Opening Ceremony. The action actually starts before the Opening Ceremony, though, with softball and women’s soccer games starting on Wednesday, July 21.
Question 4 Question 4 of 8:Are there any new events debuting in Tokyo?
Yes, there are 6 additional sports, 4 of which are making their Olympic debut. Skateboarding, surfing, karate, and sport climbing are the 4 sports joining the Olympics for the first time. Baseball and softball are also rejoining the Games after being dropped in 2008.
- New medal events are being added to 2 sports. Olympic basketball includes 3×3 competition, an outdoor version of the game with 3 players on each side. In cycling, freestyle BMX riders will compete in BMX park, a freestyle discipline in which riders complete various jumps and tricks on multiple runs through a park-like course.
- As a nod to gender equality, many sports are also adding mixed-gender team events to their schedule, including swimming, track and field, archery, judo, shooting, table tennis, and triathlon.
Question 5 Question 5 of 8:What is the schedule of events?
You can find the official schedule at https://olympics.com/tokyo-2020/en/schedule/. Clicking on any of the icons on the official schedule brings you to a page with the dates and times for each of the events for that sport, including the medal events. All times listed are local time in Tokyo.
- You definitely want to pay attention on Saturday, July 31, and Sunday, August 1. There will be 18 medal events on Saturday and 25 on Sunday, including the 100m finals, men’s and women’s gymnastics finals, and the closing day of swimming—all major Summer Olympics events.
- On Saturday, August 7, catch the finals in basketball, soccer, beach volleyball, as well as many other individual events.
Question 6 Question 6 of 8:When will the first medals be awarded?
The first 11 medals are awarded on July 24. That Saturday marks the first full day of action in the Olympic Games, with medals awarded in shooting, archery, road cycling, fencing, judo, taekwondo, and weightlifting. The very first medal will be awarded to the winner of the women’s 10m air rifle competition.
- Following a long-standing tradition, the top three finishers of the men’s marathon, held on the last day of the Games, will receive their medals during the Closing Ceremony.
Question 7 Question 7 of 8:Which events are most anticipated?
Basketball, soccer, beach volleyball, and gymnastics are always popular. The 100m and 200m are also highly anticipated. In the wake of Usain Bolt’s retirement, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics also guarantee a new gold medalist for the first time since Athens 2004.
- The medal rounds for the popular events are clustered on the weekends—you’ll see the most on Saturday, July 31; Sunday, August 1; and Saturday, August 7.
- Because of time zone differences, many broadcasters will be re-airing coverage of the most popular events during your local prime time, so check your local listings if you aren’t able to view an event live.
Question 8 Question 8 of 8:Where can I find the Tokyo Games on social media?
There are official Tokyo 2020 accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube. Before, after, and throughout the Games, these accounts showcase original content and features in English, Japanese, Spanish, French, Hindi, and Korean. To follow or subscribe, search the following usernames:
- Facebook: Tokyo2020 (Japanese/English/Spanish/French/Korean)
- Twitter: Tokyo2020 (English), Tokyo2020jp (Japanese), Tokyo2020fr (French), Tokyo2020es (Spanish), Tokyo2020ko (Korean), Tokyo2020hi (Hindi)
- Instagram: Tokyo2020 (Japanese/English)
- TikTok: tokyo2020_official (Japanese)
- Weibo: Tokyo2020official (Chinese)
- Youtube: Tokyo2020 (Japanese/English)