The Tokyo Olympics, delayed for a year because of the coronavirus pandemic, are now scheduled for late July and early August. The time difference between Japan and the United States may make it tricky to figure out what will happen when, but we’re here to help.
When do the Olympics start?
The opening ceremony is scheduled for Friday evening, July 23, Tokyo time. That will be 7 a.m. Eastern time and 4 a.m. Pacific.
There will be some soccer and softball games on July 21 and 22, and archery and rowing preliminaries on July 23. But the bulk of the athletic action starts on Saturday, July 24.
What is the time difference?
Tokyo is 13 hours ahead of Eastern time. So when it is evening in Japan, it is morning in the United States and vice versa.
Many key events will be held in the evening in Tokyo, and therefore will be in the early morning hours for U.S. viewers. An exception is swimming, where the finals will be in the morning, and so will be in prime time in the United States.
NBC, the broadcaster in the United States, has in the past saved some morning events to broadcast on tape delay in prime time on television. But the network will also livestream virtually every event for those who want to watch in real time. In a lot of cases, especially for West Coast viewers, watching events live will demand an early wake-up call.
How can I watch the Olympics?
NBC says it plans more than 7,000 hours of coverage on NBC stations, various NBCUniversal-owned cable channels, NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app.
Dozens of other broadcasters hold the rights to the Games in other countries.
How are the Olympics structured?
After the opening ceremony, the Games take place over 16 days. Some events, particularly team events, stretch over almost the entire Games. Others cover briefer periods: Swimming and gymnastics, for example, are mostly held in the first week, track and field in the second.
When is gymnastics?
Let’s start translating time zones: Men’s competition starts in the evening of July 23, U.S. time, with the women beginning the next day.
The men’s team final is at 6 a.m. Eastern time on July 26 and the women’s final at 6:45 a.m. Eastern on July 27.
The men’s individual all-around final starts at 6:15 a.m. Eastern on July 28. Simone Biles is expected to compete for a second straight all-around gold medal in the women’s final at 6:50 a.m. Eastern on July 29. (See? Quite an early wake-up call for West Coast fans.)
Individual apparatus finals are held over the following three days.
When is swimming?
The first final is at 9:30 p.m. on July 24, Eastern time. Finals continue every day through the evening of July 31.
When is track and field?
Qualifying begins in the evening of July 29, U.S. time. The women’s 100 meters will be held on the morning of July 31, U.S. time, and the men’s 100, without the retired Usain Bolt, on Aug. 1.
The marathons, which have been moved to Sapporo, Japan, where it won’t be as hot, start at 6 p.m. Eastern on Aug. 6 for the women and on Aug. 7 for the men.
When are the basketball and soccer finals?
The men’s basketball final tips off at 10:30 p.m. Eastern on Aug. 6 and the women’s final is 24 hours later. There is also a new three-on-three basketball tournament at the Games, with the men’s and women’s finals on the morning of July 28, U.S. time.
The women’s soccer final is at 10 p.m. Eastern on Aug. 5. The men’s final is Aug. 7 at 7:30 a.m. Eastern.
When are tennis and golf?
Tennis runs from July 23 (U.S. time) to Aug. 1, with finals in singles and doubles from July 30 to Aug. 1.
Men’s golf comes first, beginning late on July 28 U.S. time and finishing in the early hours of Aug. 1. Women’s golf runs Aug. 3 to 7, U.S. time.
What are some of the new sports?
Karate, surfing, sport climbing and skateboarding are making their debuts at the Games, and baseball and softball are returning after a 13-year absence. There are a few new events in some of the traditional sports, too.
When are the new sports being held?
After three days of preliminaries, the surfing finals are scheduled to be held on July 27 starting at 7 p.m. Eastern. But because competition may be delayed by wave conditions, there are additional days built in, and the event might finish as late as Aug. 1.
Sport climbing will be held Aug. 3 to 6. Skateboarding events will be held July 24 and 25 (U.S. time) and Aug. 3 and 4. The karate finals will be Aug. 5, 6 and 7.
When do the Olympics end?
The final events will be held on Sunday, Aug. 8, and the closing ceremony is to take place that evening at 8 o’clock in Tokyo, which is 7 a.m. Eastern time and 4 a.m. Pacific time.
When are the Paralympics?
The Paralympics will open on Tuesday, Aug. 24, and end on Sunday, Sept. 5.
Where can I find a full Olympics schedule?
Here, from the Tokyo Olympics site. The events are listed in Tokyo time, so here’s a handy converter.