all scores

Everything you need to know about the 2021 Tokyo Olympics

Philip Fong/Getty Images

The Tokyo Olympics are set to open July 23rd, nearly one year to the date after they were originally scheduled to begin before being postponed due to COVID. 

Over 11,000 athletes are expected to compete in 339 events during the course of the Olympics, which, despite being postponed, are still being branded as the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. 

As the opening ceremony nears, here’s everything you need to know about the Tokyo Olympics. 

What are the dates? 

The Tokyo Olympics commence with the June 23 opening ceremony and will conclude with the closing ceremony on Sunday, August 8. The opening ceremony will be held on the evening of June 23 in Tokyo and will air at 7 a.m. EST in the United States.

How do I watch? 

NBC will provide primetime coverage for the games with additional streaming options available on, NBC Sports, and Peacock.

Will fans be allowed at the Tokyo Olympics? 

The Olympics will allow a limited number of local fans. International fans have already been barred from traveling to Japan for this summer’s Games because of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Organizers say that nearly 3.7 million tickets have been sold to Japanese residents. Venues will allow up to 50% capacity but will be capped at a maximum of 10,000 spectators. Fans will not be allowed to cheer, must wear masks, and are being told to go straight home after each event. 

What is the COVID situation in Tokyo like? 

Tokyo is currently under a state of emergency due to a spike in COVID-19 cases in the region. The state of emergency is set to expire on July 12 despite scrutiny regarding the decision to hold the games. A month out from the Tokyo Olympics, only eight percent of the Japanese public is fully vaccinated, adding to public health concerns.  

When is Gymnastics? 

The women’s team final begins at 6:45 a.m. EST on July 27 and the all-around final will air at 6:50 a.m. EST on July 29. Individual events are scheduled for July 30, 31 and August 1. 

When is Swimming? 

Swimming events begin on the first day of athletic competition, July 24, and run through July 31.

When is Track and Field? 

The 100m finals will be July 31. The 200m, 400m, relays and more will begin August 2 and run through the end of the week.

When are the women’s basketball finals? 

The gold-medal game will air on August 7 at 10:30 p.m. EST. 

When are the women’s soccer finals? 

The USWNT will begin group stage play against Sweden on July 21 at 4:30 a.m. EST. The soccer tournament will culminate with the final, which airs on August 5 at 10 p.m. EST.

What sports have been added? 

The Tokyo Olympics will see the introduction of several new sports, including 3×3 basketball, freestyle BMX and madison cycling. Host organizing committees are also allowed to add new sports to the Olympic program. In Tokyo, these sports include karate, sport climbing, surfing and skateboarding, all making their Olympic debuts, while softball and baseball have also returned for the first time since 2008. 

The must-see athletes:

The Tokyo Olympics will feature both already-legendary female athletes competing for further Olympics glory, as well as several notable first-time competitors looking to break onto the global stage.

Simone Biles, gymnastics: 

Simone Biles is, by all accounts, the greatest gymnast of all time. With four elements bearing her name, Biles is truly in a league of her own. During the Tokyo Olympics the American icon will look to add to her five medals, including a second-consecutive all-around gold. 

Katie Ledecky, swimming:

At just 24 years old, Ledecky has dominated swimming for nearly a decade. In Tokyo, the two-time Olympian will look to add to her six medals, competing in the 200m free, 400m free, 800m free and 1500m free. 

Allyson Felix, track and field: 

Allyson Felix is on the precipice of an unprecedented comeback. The 35-year-old is set to race in her fifth Olympic games, only two years after giving birth to her first child. Felix will compete in the 400m in Tokyo, hoping to add to her nine medals and defy expectations for sprinters’ longevity.

Storylines to track: 

Volleyball: Can April Ross finally win that elusive gold? In 2016, Ross and beach volleyball partner Kerri Walsh-Jennings fell short in the semifinals, going on to win bronze in the third-place match. In 2012, Ross lost to Walsh-Jennings in the gold medal match, in what was the final competition for Walsh-Jennings and Misty May-Treanor. Now, Ross and her partner Alix Klineman enter the Olympics as the favorite to win. It could be Ross’ best and last chance to finally claim that elusive gold. 

Skateboarding: The sport’s Olympics debut brings with it a generation of up-and-coming skaters ready to announce themselves to the world. Can 14-year-old Misugo Okamoto, 13-year-old Rayssa Leal or 12-year-old Sky Brown make themselves the face of the sport with a podium finish?

Gymnastics: The US Gymnastics team will once again be favorites. You already know Simone Biles. Now meet the rest of Team USA: Sunisa “Suni” Lee, Jordan Chiles, Grace McCallum, Jade Carey, and McKayla Skinner. Biles, Lee, Chiles and McCallum will compete in the team competition, where they’ll be heavy favorites to the US’ third straight team gold. Carey and Skinner, meanwhile, both earned individual spots. 

Soccer: The USWNT will try to become the first team to ever win the World Cup and Olympics back-to-back. In his first major tournament at the helm, coach Vlatko Andonovski picked a veteran roster — 17 of the 18 players were on the 2019 World Cup team.