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When are the Tokyo 2021 Olympics: Schedule and event details
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When are the Tokyo 2021 Olympics: Schedule and event details

After more than a year delay, the Tokyo Olympics are finally here. With the opening ceremony set for the 24th of July and closing ceremony on August 8th.

Table of contents: 

When are the Tokyo Olympics
Are spectators allowed for the Tokyo 2021 Olympics
How to watch the Tokyo 2021 Olympics
Tokyo 2021 Olympics and Covid measures
Tokyo 2021 Schedule
Viewing times of the most popular sports in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics
Has the name changed from Tokyo Olympics 2020 to 2021? 

When are the Tokyo Olympics

Japan’s 2020 Olympics were originally scheduled to take place from 24th July to 9th of August 2020, followed by the Paralympics two weeks later. This was postponed to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic with the games now taking places between July 21st and August 8th 2021. With preparations being all near completion, the go-ahead has been given and the Tokyo Olympics is set to happen this year.

Following after the Olympics, the Paralympics will be held from the 24th of August to the 5th of September.

Are spectators allowed for the Tokyo 2021 Olympics

The Japanese government announced in March that there would be no foreign fans at the Olympics to curb the spread of the Coronavirus. Then on at the start of June the announcement came down that Tokyo would remain in a state of emergency to at least August 18th, meaning that no spectators will be allowed at all during the games, domestic or otherwise. Instead, the focus will lie on live broadcasting the games on television and live internet streaming.

How to watch the Tokyo 2021 Olympics

Even though it won’t be possible to see the games in person, there will be ample opportunity to watch the games online. Here are official channels to watch the Olympic Games online for free.

  • Olympics.com - TV Online: the official Olympics channel that broadcasts 24hour. On air is a variety of documentaries, news and live games.
  • BBC iPlayer: for those located in the UK, use BBC iPlayer to watch all the games live for free on almost any kind of device.
  • 7 Plus: for those located in Australia, 7 plus streams the games for free.
  • Peacock TV, for the US, is a paid service but games with a free trial.

In addition, the games will be broadcasted on local television. We recommend to check your provider to see what will be available.

Tokyo 2021 Olympics and Covid measures

As mentioned, no spectators are allowed during the Olympics. Additionally, the following measures are in place for athletes, staff and locals in Tokyo.

  • Testing and screening before departure to Japan: All games participants (that’s anyone related to the games, including participants, staff and journalists) will be required to take two COVID-19 tests on two separate days within 96 hours of their flight. Each test must follow one of the methods approved by Japanese health authorities, and at least one of the two tests have to be taken within 72 hours of departure.
  • Testing and quarantine upon arrival: Everyone arriving in Japan for the games must take a quantitative saliva antigen COVID-19 test at the airport. In case of testing positive, patients will be sent off to a special Covid clinic. Every new arrival in Japan must also quarantine at their accommodation for the first three days.
  • Testing for those already in Japan: Meanwhile, participants already or living in Japan must follow the local COVID-19 countermeasures already in place. Additionally, they will have to take a test 72 hours prior to participating in any official Olympic activity, such as training, participating in the games and visiting the Olympic village. There will also be regular temperature checks throughout the day.
  • Vaccination: Vaccination is encouraged, but not required. There are no special benefits extended to those who have been vaccinated. 
  • Face masks, handwashing and social distancing: Masks must be worn at all times, except when eating, drinking, training, competing or sleeping. Everyone is also encouraged to wash and sanitize their hands regularly, disinfect surfaces, and maintain social distance of 2 metres.
  • Public transport: new arrivals in Japan are banned from using public transport for the first 14 days of their stay and must use dedicated games vehicles or the Transport by Chartered Taxi service when travelling to permitted destinations.
  • Activity plan: All participants must stick to the activity plan and only leave their accommodation to go to official games venues, in addition to limited locations that are outlined in their pre-set schedule.

Tokyo 2021 Schedule

Below is the full Tokyo 2020 Olympics Schedule for 2021, make sure to bookmark for easy access to the dates of your favourites sports!

3x3 basketball | 24-28 July.
Shooting | 24 July-2 August.
Marathon swimming | 4-5 August.
Baseball/softball | 21 July-7 August.
BMX racing | 29-30 July.
BMX freestyle | 31 July-1 August.
Golf | 29 July-1 August and 4-7 August.
Football | 21 July-7 August.
Archery | 23-31 July.
Judo | 24-31 July.
Karate | 5-7 August.
Sport climbing | 3-6 August.
Basketball | 25 July-8 August.
Canoeing slalom | 25-30 July.
Handball | 24 July-8 August.
Surfing | 25 July-1 August.
Volleyball | 24 July-8 August.
Field hockey | 24 July-6 August.
Road racing | 24-25 July and 28 July.
Mountain biking | 26-27 July.
Fencing | 24 July-1 August.
Modern pentathlon | 5-7 August.
Boxing | 24 July-1 August and 3-8 August.
Wrestling | 1-7 August.
Weightlifting | 24-28 July. and 31 July-4 August.
Sailing | 25 July-4 August.
Table tennis | 24-30 July and 1-6 August.
Beach volley | 24 July-7 August.
Canoeing sprint | 2-7 August.
Track cycling | 2-8 August.
Equestrian | 24 July-7 August.
Rugby | 26-31 July.
Skateboarding | 25-26 July and 4-5 August.
Rhythmic gymnastics | 6-8 August.
Rowing | 23-30 July.
Badminton | 24 July-2 August.
Taekwondo | 24-27 July.
Artistic swimming | 2-4 August and 6-7 August.
Artistic gymnastics | 24-29 July and 1-3 August.
Tennis | 24 July-1 August.
Trampoline gymnastics | 30-31 July.
Triathlon | 26-27 and 31 July.
Diving | 25-28 July and 30 July-7 August.
Swimming | 24 July-1 August.
Water polo | 24 July-8 August.
Athletics | 30 July-8 August.

The Tokyo Olympic schedule may be changed due to unforeseen circumstances, the full list of dates can be found here

Opening Ceremony

Fri 23/07

Japan (JST): 8:00 pm

UK (GMT): 12 noon

US (EST): 7:00 am

Closing Ceremony

Sat 08/08

Japan (JST): 8:00 pm

UK (GMT): 12 noon

US (EST): 7:00 am

Association Football (soccer)

Football is played in periods of 3 days throughout the event, with matches on day 1 and 2, followed by a day of rest. Matches are held on: 21/07, 22/07, 24/07, 25/07, 27/07, 28/07, 30/07, 31/07 02/08/ 03/08 with medal finals taking place on 05/08 06/08 and 07/08.

Matches start daily at:

Japan (JST): 5:00 pm

UK (GMT): 9:00 am

US (EST): 4:00 am

The men and women's Gold Medal matches (finals) are played at the following times:

Women final football:

Thu 06/08

Japan (JST): 11:00 am

UK (GMT): 3:00 am

US (EST): 10:00 pm

Men final football:

Fri 07/08

Japan (JST): 8:30 pm

UK (GMT): 12:30 pm

US (EST): 7:30 am


Matches are played daily from 25/07 to 08/08 there are 4 matches played at the following times:

Match 1

Japan (JST): 10:00 am

UK (GMT): 2:00 am

US (EST): 9:00 pm

Match 2

Japan (JST): 1:40 pm

UK (GMT): 5:40 am

US (EST): 12:40 pm

Match 3

Japan (JST): 5:20 pm

UK (GMT): 9:20 am

US (EST): 4:20 pm

Match 4

Japan (JST): 9:00 pm

UK (GMT): 1:00 pm

US (EST): 8:00 am

The men and women's Gold Medal matches (finals) are played at the following times:

Men final basketball 

Sat 7/8

Japan (JST): 11:30 am

UK (GMT): 3:30 am

US (EST): 10:30 pm

Women final basketball

Sun 8/8

Japan (JST): 11:30 am

UK (GMT): 3:30 am

US (EST): 10:30 pm


Handball is a popular sport, with 6 matches daily during the qualifiers, and 4 during the semi-finals. With men playing on even dates and women on uneven dates.

Matches start at:

Japan (JST): 9:00 am, 11:00 am, 2:15pm, 4:15pm, 7:30pm, 9:30pm

UK (GMT): 1:00 am, 3:00 am, 6:15 am, 8:15am, 11:30 am 1:30 pm

US (EST): 8:00 pm, 10:00pm, 1:15 am, 3:15am, 6:30 am 8:30 am

Men finals handball:

Sat 7/8

Japan (JST): 5:00 pm

UK (GMT): 9:00 am

US (EST): 4:00 am

Women finals handball:

Sun 8/9

Japan (JST): 3:00 pm

UK (GMT): 7:00 am

US (EST): 2:00 am


Matches are held between Tue 5/8 and Sat 7/8, each day there are 40+ games. With games following each other consecutively as soon as the previous is finished. Games are expected to run continuously between 11 am and 9 pm local time. 

Karate games start at:

Japan (JST): 11:00 am

UK (GMT): 3:00 am

US (EST): 10:00 pm

Rugby Sevens

Rugby games are played daily between 26/07 to 28/07 for men followed by 29/07 to 31/06 for women. There are 2 sessions each with 6 games on a daily basis starting at:

Session 1:

Japan (JST): 9:00 am, 9:30 am, 10:00 am, 10:30 am, 11:00 am, 11:30 am 

UK (GMT): 1:00 am, 1:30 am, 2:00 am, 2:30 am, 3:00 am, 3:30 am

US (EST): 8:00 pm, 8:30 pm, 9:00 pm, 9:30 pm, 10:00 pm, 10:30 pm

Session 2: 

Japan (JST): 4:30 pm, 5:00 pm, 5:30 pm, 6:00 pm, 6:30 pm, 7:00 pm

UK (GMT): 8:30 am, 9:00 am, 9:30 am, 10:00 am, 10:30 am, 11:00 am

US (EST): 3:30 am, 4:00 am, 4:30 am, 5:00 am, 5:30 am, 6:00 am


Daily between Sat 24/07 and Sun 01/08 with 2 daily sessions. Each session taking about 2 hours, finishing times differ by the day.

Session 1 starting daily at:

Japan (JST): 10:30 am 

UK (GMT): 2:30 am

US (EST): 9:30 pm

Session 2 starting daily at:

Japan (JST): 7:00 pm

UK (GMT): 11:00 am

US (EST): 06:00 am

Note that on August 24 only session 1 is held and on 31/07 and 01/08 only sessions 2 is held.


Tennis games are played between Sat 24/07 and Sun 01/08

Unlike other games, the schedule for tennis is set only for Sat 24/07. Game times will be announced in the evening for the following day.

Games start on Sat 24/07 start at:

Japan (JST): 11:00 am

UK (GMT): 3:00 am

US (EST): 10:00 pm


Games are help on Mon 26/07, Tue 27/07 and Sat 31/07.

Japan (JST): 6:30 am (+1h on 31/07)

UK (GMT): 10:30 pm (+1h on 31/07)

US (EST): 5:30 pm (+1h on 31/07)

Note that games on triathlon games on 31/07 start one hour later.

Volleyball (Beach and field)

Volleyball is one of the most popular games during the Olympics and has some of the most games during the event. Games run during the entire event. With 6 games from Sat 26/07 to Mon 2/8. Followed by the quarter-, semi-, finals. 

Qualification games start at:

Sat 24/07 to Mon 2/08.

Japan (JST): 9:00 am, 11:05 am, 2:40pm, 4:25pm, 7:40 pm 9:25 pm

UK (GMT): 1:00 am, 3:05 am, 6:40 am, 8:25 am, 11:40 am 1:25pm

US (EST): 08:00 pm, 10:05 pm, 0:40 am, 2:25am, 5:40 am, 7:25pm

Quarter-finals start at:

Tue 3/08 and Wed 4/08

Japan (JST): 9:00 am, 1:00pm, 5:00 pm, 21:30 pm

UK (GMT): 1:00 am, 5:00 am, 9:00 am, 1:30 pm

US (EST): 08:00 pm, 12 midnight, 4:00 am, 8:30 am 

Semi Finals start at:

Thu 5/08 and Fri 6/08

Japan (JST): 1:00 pm, 9:00 pm, 

UK (GMT): 5:00 am, 1:00 pm

US (EST): 12 midn, 8:00 am

Finals start at

Sat 7/08 

Japan (JST): 1:30 pm

UK (GMT): 5:30 am

US (EST): 0:30 am

Sun 08/08

Japan (JST): 9:00 am

UK (GMT): 01:00 am

US (EST): 08:00 pm


Games start daily at the same time, from there on matches follow each other consecutively, starting times will depend on the length of the prior match.

Games start Sun 01/08 and with the finals taking place on Sat 07/08. Each day wrestling games start at:

Japan (JST): 11:00 am

UK (GMT): 3:00 am

US (EST): 10:00 pm

Except for the finals on 07/08 with start at:

Japan (JST): 6:45 pm

UK (GMT): 10:45 am

US (EST): 05:45 pm 

Has the name changed from Tokyo Olympics 2020 to 2021?

Even though the event was delayed by a full year, the original name of Olympics 2020 will remain. One of the main reasons for this was the initial investment and marketing. Having to change and reprint everything from 2020 to 2021 would be a massive waste of resources and not be sustainable. 

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