After the postponement of the Tokyo Olympic games due to the ongoing global pandemic, the world’s best athletes are finally ready to compete. That makes how to watch the Olympics a question many sports fans are wondering.
For over two weeks, the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo—the 2021 edition—will feature exciting storylines, including teams out for redemption, stirring individual performances, and highly anticipated match-ups between athletes out for gold with an extra year of preparation to drive them forward.
Will Team USA surpass the 46 Olympic gold medals earned in Rio? Can any rival country come close to gymnastics-favorite Team USA, whose star athletes are competing for a third team gold medal? How will Allyson Felix, the most decorated track and field athlete of all time, fare in her fifth and final Olympic Games—and her first as a mom? Will the new Olympic sports for 2021 be just as exciting as they’re hyped to be? And among all these can’t-miss Olympic storylines, one question continues to run through the background: How will these Games transpire differently due to the COVID-19 pandemic?
Find out by watching all of the action at the 2021 Olympics this summer. Here’s everything you need to know.
When to watch the Olympics
From Friday, July 23, through Sunday, August 8, the Tokyo Games will host 33 different sports and award medals across 339 events. The opening ceremony will begin on Friday evening, July 23, in Japan’s capital city—making that a 7 a.m start time for those on the U.S.’s East Coast. (Tokyo is 13 hours ahead of the Eastern time zone, so many of the events will take place during the evening in Tokyo, which will be early morning for us in the U.S.)
Basketball, archery, badminton, beach volleyball, boxing, cycling, fencing, field hockey, gymnastics, handball, judo, rowing, shooting, softball, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis, volleyball, and weightlifting all begin on July 23.
Equestrian, sailing, skateboarding, soccer, surfing, swimming, and water polo kick off on July 24. Baseball begins on July 27, and track and field starts on July 30. Check the NBC schedule for updates on the dates and specific timing of your favorite events. If you can’t watch the action live, NBC has scheduled highlights and replays of each sport throughout the program.
Where will these Olympic events take place?
Most of the sports will take place in Tokyo or just outside of the capital, but some events are scheduled to be held at venues in nearby Japanese cities.
The National Stadium—the venue used as the main stadium for the Tokyo 1964 Olympic Games—was rebuilt for this year’s championship. The stadium in downtown Tokyo will host the opening and closing ceremonies, track and field events, and soccer matches.
Sapporo Odori Park in Sapporo is the venue for the marathon and race walking events. Heat concerns prompted the event organizers to move the venue from Tokyo to Sapporo in 2019.
Ariake Arena was built for the Tokyo Games as the venue for volleyball in the northern part of Tokyo’s Ariake district. Nearby is the Ariake Tennis Park, which will host the tennis matches.
Yokohama Baseball Stadium in Kanagawa (just south of Tokyo) will be the venue for baseball and softball. And surfing will make its Olympic debut at Tsurigasaki Beach in Ichinomiya, about a 90-minute drive from Tokyo. (Learn more about all of the Olympic venues here.)
How to watch the Olympics
You have two options for watching the Olympics: Either on TV or by livestreaming. NBC is the official U.S. broadcaster of the Olympics, so consider that your home base for video coverage.