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Arts & Culture

How To Watch The Tokyo Olympics

The Olympic rings at Odori Park in Sapporo Hokkaido, Japan on Tuesday.
The Olympic rings at Odori Park in Sapporo Hokkaido, Japan on Tuesday.

Officially, the Olympic Games begin on Friday, Jul. 23 and run through Sunday, Aug. 8 — and for all the armchair athletes out there, the biggest thrill is tuning in to watch the excitement.

For an American audience, NBC continues to have a lock on all things Olympic. Events will air across many NBC properties, including NBC, USA, CNBC and Golf Channel, as well as on Peacock (NBC's streaming platform), the NBC Sports app and on NBCOlympics.com.

For the first time ever, NBC will broadcast the opening ceremony live in the morning — that's 7:00 AM EDT (and 4:00 AM PDT!) for you super-early birds. But for folks who want to settle in for some pageantry later in the day, NBC will re-air the event Friday at 7:30 PM EDT, and then again for a third time overnight, so there's almost no chance that you will miss out. (The network will air the closing ceremony on Aug. 8 at 7:00 AM EDT.)

But! There are actually Olympic matches taking place before the official opening ceremony, including softball and soccer. So if you're a diehard for front-to-back coverage, set up your calendar now; first up is softball on Tuesday evening at 7:55 p.m. EDT.

For completists, NBC offers a full grid of when every sport is airing, from archery to wrestling. The Tokyo games feature the debut of five new sports — skateboarding, surfing, sport climbing, karate and 3x3 basketball — so there are even more choices on offer. The network also has a cheat sheet of particularly high-profile events, listed day by day. (We've also created our own Top 10 list.)

This is all assuming, of course, that the Olympics Games still take place as planned. The head of the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee, Toshiro Muto, said at a news conference on Tuesday that he wasn't ruling out the possibility of the Games being canceled, as more athletes have tested positive for COVID-19, and major sponsors have dropped plans to attend the opening ceremony.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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