In Depth

Tokyo 2020 Olympics: a guide to the games

Everything you need to know about the biggest event in sport

After a year’s delay - and months of uncertainty due to the Covid-19 pandemic - the Olympic Games are finally under way in Tokyo. 

Originally scheduled for last summer, Tokyo 2020 (as it’s still branded) is being held in the Japanese capital until Sunday 8 August. Tokyo will then host the Paralympic Games from 24 August to 5 September. 


Mallory Franklin Canoe Slalom

Mallory Franklin won silver in the women’s canoe slalom C1

Adam Pretty/Getty Images

Team GB’s medal winners in Tokyo

 On day six of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Team GB have so far added two more medals to their tally. The Brits now have 18 medals - five gold, seven silver and six bronze - and are sixth in the medal table. The first medal won on day six for Team GB was Matt Coward-Holley with bronze in the men's trap shooting. Mallory Franklin added a silver in the women’s canoe slalom C1.


The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Flame

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Flame

Getty Images

How to watch on TV in the UK

Tokyo 2020 will be shown in the UK across the BBC’s various platforms, with BBC One and BBC Two broadcasting more than 350 hours of live television coverage. A second live stream will also be available on BBC iPlayer. 

“The anticipation for this year’s Olympics is higher than ever, and we’re proud to be showcasing the very best of the action,” said Barbara Slater, director of BBC Sport. “There will be something for everyone on the BBC for Tokyo 2020, with a huge range of content available across TV, radio and online, plus a world-class line-up of presenters and pundits.”

Former Olympic champions Michael Johnson, Chris Hoy, Jessica Ennis-Hill, Katherine Grainger, Nicola Adams, Rebecca Adlington and Victoria Pendleton are among the BBC’s punditry team. 


Tokyo Olympic Games

Getty Images

How many athletes will take part? 

There will be more than 11,000 athletes from 205 nations competing at Tokyo 2020. As well as the national squads there will also be 20 athletes forming the Refugee Olympic Team (EOR). 

Team GB will have its largest ever delegation for an Olympic Games on foreign soil: 376 athletes and a further 22 reserve athletes to compete across 26 sports. For the first time at a summer games Team GB will also have more female than male athletes, with 201 women (53.5%) and 175 men (46.5%). 


The Tokyo 2020 silver, gold and bronze medals

The Tokyo 2020 silver, gold and bronze medals

Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images

The sports and key dates 

The Olympics in Tokyo will feature 33 sports and 339 medal events. Baseball/softball returns to the games after last appearing at Beijing 2008 and four new sports - karate, skateboarding, sport climbing, and surfing - will make their Olympic debuts.

  • Opening ceremony: Friday 23 July
  • 3x3 Basketball: 24-28 July
  • Archery: 23-31 July
  • Artistic gymnastics: 24 July-3 August
  • Artistic swimming: 2-7 August
  • Athletics: 30 July-8 August
  • Badminton: 24 July-2 August
  • Baseball/Softball: 21 July-7 August
  • Basketball: 25 July-8 August
  • Beach volleyball:  24 July-7 August
  • Boxing: 24 July-8 August
  • Canoe slalom: 25-30 July  
  • Canoe sprint: 2-7 August
  • Cycling BMX freestyle: 31 July-1 August
  • Cycling BMX racing: 29-30 July
  • Cycling mountain bike: 26-27 July
  • Cycling road: 24, 25 and 28 July
  • Cycling track: 2-8 August
  • Diving: 25 July-7 August
  • Equestrian: 24 July-7 August
  • Fencing: 24 July-1 August
  • Football: 21 July-7 August
  • Golf: men’s 29 July-1 August; women’s 4-7 August
  • Handball: 24 July-8 August
  • Hockey: 24 July-6 August
  • Judo: 24-31 July
  • Karate: 5-7 August
  • Marathon: 4-5 August
  • Swimming: 5-7 August
  • Modern pentathlon: 5-7 August
  • Rhythmic gymnastics: 6-8 August
  • Rowing: 23-30 July 
  • Rugby sevens: 26-31 July 
  • Sailing: 25 July-4 August
  • Shooting: 24 July-2 August
  • Skateboarding: street 24-25 July; park 4-5 August
  • Sport climbing: 3-6 August
  • Surfing: 25 July-1 August
  • Swimming: 24 July-1 August
  • Table tennis: 24 July-6 August
  • Taekwondo: 24-27 July
  • Tennis: 24 July-1 August
  • Trampoline gymnastics: 30-31 July
  • Triathlon: individual 26-27 July; mixed relay 31 July
  • Volleyball: 24 July-8 August
  • Water polo: 24 July-8 August
  • Weightlifting: 24 July-4 August
  • Wrestling: 1-7 August
  • Closing ceremony: Sunday 8 August


The Olympic Stadium is the main venue for Tokyo 2020

The Olympic Stadium is the main venue for Tokyo 2020

Behrouz Mehri/AFP via Getty Images

The venues for Tokyo 2020

Tokyo Olympic Stadium

  • Events: opening and closing ceremonies, athletics, football

Aomi Urban Sports Park 

  • Events: 3x3 basketball; sport climbing; football 5-a-side 

Ariake Arena 

  • Events: volleyball; wheelchair basketball 

Ariake Gymnastics Centre 

  • Events: artistic gymnastics; rhythmic gymnastics; trampoline

Asaka Shooting Range 

  • Events: shooting 

Ariake Tennis Park 

  • Events: tennis; wheelchair tennis 

Ariake Urban Sports Park 

  • Events: cycling BMX; freestyle cycling; BMX racing; skateboarding 

Enoshima Yacht Harbour 

  • Events: sailing 

Equestrian Park 

  • Events: equestrian 

Fuji International Speedway 

  • Events: cycling road 

Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium 

  • Events: baseball/softball 

Ibaraki Kashima Stadium 

  • Events: football 

International Stadium Yokohama 

  • Events: football 

Izu MTB Course 

  • Events: cycling mountain bike 

Izu Velodrome 

  • Events: cycling track

Kasumigaseki Country Club 

  • Events: golf 

Kokugikan Arena 

  • Events: boxing 

Kasai Canoe Slalom Centre 

  • Events: canoe slalom 

Makuhari Messe Hall 

  • Events: fencing; taekwondo; wrestling; goalball 

Miyagi Stadium 

  • Events: Football 

Musashinonomori Park 

  • Events: cycling Road 

Musashino Forest Sport Plaza 

  • Events: badminton; modern pentathlon; wheelchair basketball 

Nippon Budokan 

  • Events: judo; karate 

Odaiba Marine Park 

  • Events: marathon swimming; triathlon 

Oi Hockey Stadium 

  • Events: hockey 

Sapporo Odori Park 

  • Events: athletics (marathon/race walking) 

Saitama Stadium 

  • Events: football 

Saitama Super Arena 

  • Events: basketball 

Sapporo Dome 

  • Events: football 

Sea Forest Cross-Country Course 

  • Events: equestrian 

Sea Forest Waterway 

  • Events: canoe sprint; rowing 

Shiokaze Park 

  • Events: beach volleyball 

Tatsumi Water Polo Centre 

  • Events: water polo 

Tokyo Aquatics Centre 

  • Events: artistic swimming; diving; swimming 

Tokyo International Forum 

  • Events: weightlifting; powerlifting 

Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium 

  • Events: table tennis 

Tokyo Stadium 

  • Events: football; modern pentathlon; rugby 

Tsurigasaki Surfing Beach 

  • Events: surfing 

Yokohama Baseball Stadium 

  • Events: baseball/softball 

Yoyogi National Stadium 

  • Events: handball; badminton; wheelchair rugby 

Yumenoshima Park Archery Field 

  • Events: archery


Fireworks light up the sky over the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo

Charly Triballeau/AFP via Getty Images

In pictures: Tokyo 2020 opening ceremony

The opening ceremony was held on Friday 23 July at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo. While there were no fans in the stands due to the Covid-19 state of emergency, there were around 1,000 VIPs and delegates, including Japan’s Emperor Naruhito.


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