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Tokyo Olympics: Day-by-day guide to what you should be watching

Written by on 16/07/2021

After much debate over the coronavirus crisis, the Tokyo Olympics are finally going ahead.

They may be a year late and held without spectators for the most part, but they will still be on TV for us to watch at home.

Japan is eight hours ahead of the UK, so following your favourite athletes could mean some late nights and early starts.

But here Sky News takes you through the schedule day-by-day, to tell you who you should be watching from Team GB and the rest of the world.

File photo dated 31-12-2020 of Olympic Rings outside the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo, Japan. Issue date: Friday May 7, 2021. Issue date: Friday July 9, 2021.
Image: The Olympic Stadium will open and close the games in Tokyo

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Wednesday 21 July

Team GB

The first day of events is known as “day minus two”, because no medals can be won for the first two days.

It’s still worth tuning in though, as Team GB’s women’s football team are part of the first match of the tournament against Chile at 8.30am.

England's Lionesses came third at the 2019 World Cup in Nice. Pic: AP
Image: England’s Lionesses came third at the 2019 World Cup in Nice. Pic: AP

England came third in the Women’s World Cup in 2019 in France after being beaten by the US.

The men’s game hasn’t entered a GB team – apart from when they hosted in 2012 – since 1960 – as they struggle to decide on how to divide the home nations.

Rest of the world

In the women’s football, the US will take on Sweden (9.30am) in a replay of the 2019 World Cup Final, which the Americans won 2-0.

Team USA captain Megan Rapinoe at the World Cup in 2019. Pic: AP
Image: Team USA captain Megan Rapinoe at the World Cup in 2019. Pic: AP

Thursday 22 July

Team GB

There are no Britons in action on “day minus one”.

Rest of the world

The men’s football kicks off with a re-match of the 2016 gold medal match in Rio – between Germany and Brazil, which the home nation won on penalties.

The match starts at 12.30pm.

Brazil's Neymar at the World Cup in 2018. Pic: AP
Image: Brazil’s Neymar at the World Cup in 2018. Pic: AP

Friday 23 July

Officially, this is the first day of the Games, with the opening ceremony at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo at midday.

There won’t be any fans to watch it due to the coronavirus state of emergency in the city, but you can still watch it at home.

Team GB

If you’re a rowing fan, four Team GB boats are in action today.

Watch out for Rio silver medallist Vicky Thornley in the women’s single sculls heats.

Vicky Thornley (left) and Katherine Grainger at Rio 2016
Image: Vicky Thornley (left) and Katherine Grainger at Rio 2016

Saturday 24 July

Team GB

Twenty sports begin at the Olympics on the first Saturday.

The men’s road cycling race (3am to 10am) will see Britain’s Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas, twin brothers Adam and Simon Yates, and Tao Geoghegan Hart in action.

In the women’s football, Team GB will face host nation Japan at 11.30am.

Geraint Thomas of Team Sky and Team GB. Pic: AP
Image: Geraint Thomas of Team Sky and Team GB. Pic: AP

Rowing fans should tune in to see Team GB’s Helen Glover and Polly Swann in the women’s pair. Glover won golds at London 2012 and Rio 2016 but has taken four years out of rowing since then – watch out for her comeback.

Over at the gymnastics centre in the artistic competition, double Rio gold medallist Max Whitlock will be among those performing between 2am and 2pm.

Rest of the world

Tennis gets going on Saturday at 3am. Watch out for Naomi Osaka of Japan in the women’s singles. She could play on Saturday or Sunday, depending on the order of play selection.

Japan's Naomi Osaka. Pic: AP
Image: Japan’s Naomi Osaka. Pic: AP

Sunday 25 July

Team GB

Jade Jones will attempt her third Olympic medal in the taekwondo on Sunday in the -57kg group at about 1pm.

Elsewhere in martial arts, Chelsie Giles is making her Olympic debut in the -52kg women’s judo event from 3am. She’s won grand slam medals in the run-up to the games, so is expected to do well.

Triathlon fans will know Team GB’s Alistair Brownlee wasn’t selected for Tokyo, but his younger brother Johnny was.

Jade Jones celebrates winning gold
Image: Jade Jones won gold at Rio 2016

He finished behind his brother in London and Rio, but all eyes will be on how he competes without him from 10.30pm on Sunday – through to 1am on Monday.

Rest of the world

Caeleb Dressel has been dubbed the next Michael Phelps as the US’s next superstar Olympic swimmer.

He won two relay golds in Rio in 2016 and another 13 world titles after that. He’ll be taking part in the men’s 4x100m freestyle relay heats from 1pm.

Caeleb Dressel at the Olympic swim trials last month. Pic: AP
Image: Caeleb Dressel at the Olympic swim trials last month. Pic: AP

Monday 26 July

Team GB

Staying with swimming, Adam Peaty will begin his mission to stay at the top of his game for five years straight.

Having broken a number of world records and a gold in Rio five years ago, he’ll be starting out with the men’s 100m breaststroke at 3am.

Still in the pool, Monday is the first time we’ll see Team GB’s Tom Daley.

Team GB's Adam Peaty. Pic: AP
Image: Team GB’s Adam Peaty. Pic: AP

It’s his fourth Olympics and he’ll be paired with Matty Lee for the men’s 10m synchro diving event.

He won bronze in Rio in 2016, watch how he does this year between 7am and 8am.

Rugby fans will want to tune in on Monday as Team GB play both Canada (1am) and Japan (8.30am).

Hockey supporters are also in luck, with the women’s and men’s teams in action – against Canada (3.45am) and South Africa (10.30am) respectively.

Those happy to stay up late can catch Team GB’s triathlon team Vicky Holland, Georgia Taylor-Brown and Jess Learmouth from 10.30pm until 1am.

Tom Daley (left) will compete in Rio with first-timer Matty Lee. Pic: AP
Image: Tom Daley (left) will compete in Rio with first-timer Matty Lee. Pic: AP

Tuesday 27 July

Team GB

On Tuesday 54-year-old Carl Hester – the oldest member of Team GB – will compete in his sixth Olympics dressage event.

Alongside him will be Charlotte Fry, 25, and Charlotte Dujardin, 36.

Carl Hester is the oldest member of Team GB
Image: Carl Hester is the oldest member of Team GB

Rest of the world

Over at the gymnastics, the women’s team final (from 11.45am) is expected to draw huge interest.

Team USA is led by Simone Biles, who is a clear favourite. Team GB has a chance – coming sixth at the last championships.

Team USA's Simone Biles. Pic: AP
Image: Team USA’s Simone Biles. Pic: AP

Wednesday 28 July

Team GB

Rugby fans can tune into the sevens final from 8.30am, with Team GB hoping to outperform their silver medal from Rio five years ago by beating current Olympic champions Fiji.

Road cycling is back for the men’s and women’s time trials from 3.30am.

Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas will be there, alongside Anna Shackley in the women’s event.

Team GB’s Charlotte Dujardin is riding a new horse this year and will hope to win a dressage medal from 9.30am.

Charlotte Dujardin will debut a new horse in Tokyo. Pic: AP
Image: Charlotte Dujardin will debut a new horse in Tokyo. Pic: AP

Thursday 29 July

Team GB

Rowers Helen Glover and Polly Swann will be chasing a medal at the women’s pair event (1.30am).

Rest of the world

Watch out for Team USA’s Caeleb Dressel who is set to be competing in the men’s 100m freestyle swimming final at 3.35am.

Helen Glover (left) and Polly Swann will be back on the water. Pic: AP
Image: Helen Glover (left) and Polly Swann will be back on the water. Pic: AP

Friday 30 July

Team GB

Today is the first big day for British athletics with the women’s 800m, men’s 400m hurdles and women’s 100m among the events.

All UK eyes will be on Dina Asher-Smith – who is a silver medallist – between 3.40am and 4.30am.

In the longer distances, there is no Sir Mo Farah, who failed to qualify for Team GB in June.

Dina Asher-Smith in Rio in 2016. Pic: AP
Image: Dina Asher-Smith in Rio in 2016. Pic: AP

In his place will be Mark Scott and Sam Atkin, so watch out for them.

Rest of the world

Tennis fans should tune in to the men’s singles semi-finals between 4am and midday. There’s no Rafael Nadal this year or Nick Kyrgios, as both decided not to play in Tokyo.

Sam Atkin will run the 10,000m
Image: Sam Atkin will run the 10,000m

Saturday 31 July

Team GB

Dina Asher-Smith will take part in the women’s 100m final at 1.50pm. She’ll be chasing Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce who beat her at the world championships in 2019.

Sha’Carri Richardson will miss the event for Team USA due to a controversial 30-day suspension due to cannabis use.

Dina Asher-Smith's main competition will be Jamaica's Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce. Pic: AP
Image: Dina Asher-Smith’s main competition will be Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce. Pic: AP

Rest of the world

Tennis fans will get to watch the women’s singles final on Saturday – if they wake up early enough.

The game starts at 4am and without Serena or Venus Williams, or Team GB’s Johanna Konta, Japan’s Naomi Osaka is hotly tipped to win.

Olympic history will be made in the men’s discus when Germany’s Christopher Harting will try and take the gold medal his brother Robert achieved in Rio five years ago (12.15pm to 1.25pm).

Sha'Carri Richardson
Image: Sha’Carri Richardson is serving a ban and won’t compete

Sunday 1 August

Team GB

Max Whitlock won gold medals for the men’s floor (9am) and men’s pommel horse (10.30am) at the gymnastics competition in Rio five years ago.

He’s hoping for a repeat performance in the final on Sunday.

The men’s singles tennis final will take place from 4am to midday, with Novak Djokovic and Sir Andy Murray in with a chance.

Sir Andy Murray bowed at Wimbledon but will play in Tokyo. Pic: AP
Image: Sir Andy Murray bowed at Wimbledon but will play in Tokyo. Pic: AP

Rest of the world

Tokyo is the first Games where Usain Bolt hasn’t competed in the men’s 100m final since he broke on to the scene.

Keep an eye on Trayvon Bromell, of Team USA, who Bolt has said he thinks will win.

Usain Bolt has tipped Trayvon Bromell to win the 100m sprint. Pic: AP
Image: Usain Bolt has tipped Trayvon Bromell to win the 100m sprint. Pic: AP

Monday 2 August

Team GB

Elish McColgan recently broke Paula Radcliffe‘s record for the women’s 5,000m. You can watch her compete this year alongside Jessica Judd and Amy-Eloise Markovc from 1.40pm.

Women’s weightlifter Emily Campbell is hoping to win for Team GB in the +87kg category at 11.50am. Her last major title came just four months ago.

Emily Campbell at the Commonwealth Games in 2018. Pic: AP
Image: Emily Campbell at the Commonwealth Games in 2018. Pic: AP

Dina Asher-Smith is back on the track for the 200m sprint at 2.30am.

Rest of the world

The women’s football semi-final will kick off at 9am. Could it be Team GB?

England at the Stade de Lyon in 2019. Pic: AP
Image: England at the Stade de Lyon in 2019. Pic: AP

Tuesday 3 August

Team GB

It’s a big day for cycling when husband and wife Jason and Laura Kenny take part in the men’s team sprint (9.35am) and women’s team pursuit (9.05am).

They’ve both been winning medals since London 2012, with Jason winning the team sprint in Beijing in 2008 too.

Jason and Laura Kenny are chasing more medals in Tokyo. Pic: AP
Image: Jason and Laura Kenny are chasing more medals in Tokyo. Pic: AP

Rest of the world

Uganda’s Halimah Najaayi will take part in the women’s 800m final at 1.25pm.

She was filmed doing a victory dance with her teammate Winnie Nanyondo when they won gold in 2019 – becoming the first Ugandan women to reach the final.

Halimah Nakaayi (left) and Winnie Nanyondo in 2019. Pic: AP
Image: Halimah Nakaayi (left) and Winnie Nanyondo in 2019. Pic: AP

Wednesday 4 August

Team GB

At 13, Sky Brown is the youngest member of Team GB. She will take part in the skateboarding park contest between 1am and 5.30am.

Climbing is at the Olympics for the first time this year. It will feature Shauna Coxsey of Team GB, who has won a bronze medal at the world championships, from 9am.

Sky Brown is the youngest member of Team GB at just 13
Image: Sky Brown is the youngest member of Team GB at just 13

Rest of the world

Golf fans can tune in to see the women’s tournament tee off just before midnight on Tuesday.

It’ll run into the early hours, when world number one Nelly Korda is expected to do well – alongside her sister Jessica.

Nelly Korda of Team USA. Pic: AP
Image: Nelly Korda of Team USA. Pic: AP

Thursday 5 August

Team GB

In the water today will be Team GB Olympic champion Liam Heath who you can watch in the sprint canoeing men’s K1 200m final at 3.25am.

Elsewhere the men’s marathon swim will culminate at around 1.30am featuring Hector Pardoe.

Rest of the world

Ryan Crouser of Team USA will take part in the men’s shotput final. He broke a record of 31 years just before the games started.

Ryan Crouser is looking to break another record. Pic: AP
Image: Ryan Crouser is looking to break another record. Pic: AP

Friday 6 August

Team GB

Fingers crossed that the women’s football final will include Team GB. You can watch from 3am.

Rest of the world

Zharnel Hughes (left) and Reece Prescod are both competing in the 4x100m relay. Pic: AP
Image: Zharnel Hughes (left) and Reece Prescod are both competing in the 4x100m relay. Pic: AP

The 4x100m relay will begin at 2.30pm and always draws big audiences.

Both the men’s and the women’s events will take place at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo, which means there won’t be any fans cheering runners on this year.

Asher-Smith (right) will also compete in the 4x100 relay. Pic: AP
Image: Asher-Smith (right) will also compete in the 4×100 relay. Pic: AP

Saturday 7 August

Team GB

Tom Daley will compete in the 10m platform final between 7am and 8.30am. It’s likely to be his last, but he is set to do well having won a gold in the test event in Tokyo last May.

With no Nicola Adams anymore, Team GB’s Charley Davison will try and win the women’s flyweight boxing title. You can tune in from 6am.

Tom Daley won the Men's 10m platform at the 2017 FINA World Championsips in Budapest
Image: Tom Daley won gold at the test event in Tokyo last year

Both Ben Maher and Scott Brash won golds at team show jumping in London 2012 – and are hoping to do the same at this year’s final from 11am.

The women’s marathon will take place without any spectators in Hokkaido, with Team GB’s Steph Twell, Jess Piasecki and Stephanie Davis competing.

Rest of the world

The men’s football final kicks off at 12.30pm, with favourites Argentina, Mexico and Brazil hoping to repeat previous wins.

Argentina are among the favourites to win. Pic: AP
Image: Argentina are among the favourites to win. Pic: AP

Sunday 8 August

Team GB

British boxer Caroline Dubois will fight it out in the women’s lightweight event on the final day of the games.

Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya. Pic: AP
Image: Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya. Pic: AP

Rest of the world

Marathon enthusiasts will be keen to see the world recorder holder – Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge – maintain his title from 7am.

At midday UK time – the Games will officially draw to a close with a spectator-less closing ceremony at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo.

 Sky News

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