Tokyo 2021 Olympics: guide to Olympic Games in Japan
Dive into all that matters about the long-awaited Tokyo 2021 Olympics.
Tokyo 2021 Olympics complete guide
Tokyo 2021 Olympics complete guide

The Tokyo 2021 Olympics are here! Though the official name of this year’s competitions is Tokyo 2020 Olympics. The Games were postponed due to COVID pandemic last year, however the first events of the Olympic Games have already begun as of July 21.

There were calls to ban the competitions altogether from health authorities and experts. The head of the local organising committee Toshiro Muto has not excluded the last-minute cancellation of Tokyo Olympics, with all the athletes already in the Olympic Village.

As for now the Games proceed as planned. COVID situation at the Olympics is monitored closely, with a tally of 848,222 confirmed coronavirus cases and 15,062 deaths in Japan.

How long will Summer Olympics last in Japan in 2021?

To answer the question of “how long will the Tokyo 2021 Summer Olympics last”, we should state that the official start of the Olympics is planned on 23 July 2021. This is the date of its opening ceremony. Though no spectators will see it live: a complete ban was imposed on 8 July, hours after the new state of emergency had been declared due to COVID in Japan.

The closing ceremony will take place on August 8 at the Japan National Stadium.

That means that the Summer Olympics in Japan will officially last for 17 days.

Olympics history — from ancient times to Tokyo 2021

Before we do a recap of the Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games, lets remember the main point in the history of the Olympics — from ancient times to the first modern Olympics and today.

Ancient Olympics: what event Emperor Nero added to Olympics?

In Ancient Greece, people deemed the Olympic Games to be a sacred event. The games took place in the tiny town of Olympia with a religious sanctuary called Panhellenic. Like today, the Greek Olympics took place every 4 years. Trustworthy sources tell that a total of 293 editions of the Ancient Olympics were held from the year of 776 BC till the 393 AD

Olympic athletes in Ancient Greece ran and jumped, threw a javelin, wrestled and boxed. Also, spectators could watch pankration and equestrians, among some other competitions.

One of the most peculiar pages of the Olympics history is about what event Emperor Nero added to the Olympic Games. Nero was a huge fan of the Olympics, but thought that arts equal sports and combat skills. Considering himself an unsurpassed actor and singer, he thought it would be a great idea to add 3 new events to the Olympics: 2 of them being singing and acting skills and the third, a new chariot race. Nero participated in this race himself, having 10 horses in a harness, whereas each of his opponents had only 2. In spite of this, eventually he ordered to exclude all of his rivals from the race and rode alone.

First modern Olympic Games and first country that held Olympics

First modern Olympic Games took place on 6 April 1896 in Athens, Greece. Male athletes, 241 of them, from 14 countries took part in this initial Olympiad.

There were 9 events held in the first modern Olympic competition:

  • Athletics
  • Cycling
  • Fencing
  • Gymnastics
  • Shooting
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Weightlifting
  • Wrestling

The USA team of athletes received the largest number of gold medals (nothing really changed, yeah?), whereas the host country, Greece, received the most total medals.

International Olympic Committee — what is it?

The International Olympic Committee was created by baron Pierre de Coubertine on 23 June 1894 in Paris, France. Its headquarters are situated in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The IOC was a body that created the famous motto of the Olympics: “Citius, altius, fortius”. We bet you know it: in English it translates as “faster, higher, stronger”!

There are 105 active members of the IOC, countries that participate in the Olympics.

Thomas Bach and Jacques Rogge are president and honorary president, respectively.

How many circles in Olympic flags and what do colours represent?

Baron Pierre de Coubertine presented the current Olympic flag in 1914. It consists of 5 coloured circles, which are united in the shape of a letter W on the white background. The colours of these circles are red, green, black, yellow and blue.

Olympic circles are the movement as a whole. Previously, it was assumed that each colour symbolizes a separate continent, but this version has been disregarded on an official level.

How many and which countries participate in Tokyo 2021 Olympics?

An approximate number of countries participating in the Tokyo 2021 Olympics is 206, whereas the number of athletes is equal to 12,500.

These numbers are equaling the previous Olympic Games in Rio, which seems like a recovery from COVID-19 pandemic.

Is Russia banned from competing in 2021 Olympics in Tokyo?

Russian athletes are not banned from competing in the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo, but they will participate not as Russia, but as “Olympic athletes from Russia”. There are 335 athletes in the Russian squad — 150 men and 185 women — who will show skills in 30 different sports.

Notably, Russian athletes are third by chance to earn the most gold medals and the most medals overall with odds of 33.00 (+3200; 32/1) and 28.00 (+2700; 27/1), respectively.

How many different sports are there in Tokyo 2021 Summer Olympics?

We will watch 33 different competitions, with 339 olympic medals awarded. Among them 4 special events which will take place in the current Games only: karate, surfing, rock climbing and skateboarding. Baseball and softball have returned after the Summer Olympics 2012.

There are other changers as well.

  1. Basketball has a 3x3 event added.
  2. Distances of 800 and 1500 meters have been added to swimming for men and women, respectively.
  3. Competition among steering wheeless swinging fours has been added to rowing for women.
  4. Team competitions have been added to the judo event.
  5. Mixed tournaments have been added to table tennis.
  6. Mixed team competitions have been added to the archery event and triathlon.
  7. Mixed relay 4x400 has been added to athletics.
  8. Team foil and saber competitions have been added to fencing for women and men, respectively.

Football Olympics tournament in 2021

There are 16 male and 12 female teams, which have qualified for the main stage tournament. They are divided into 4 groups and 3 groups, respectively. Only 2 male teams from each group will qualify for the playoffs, whereas 2 third-place female teams will qualify as well. Their fixture will be played at 7 stadiums from July 21 to August 7.

Men. Group A:

  • Japan
  • South Africa
  • Mexico
  • France

Men. Group B:

  • New Zealand
  • Republic of Korea
  • Honduras
  • Romania

Men. Group C:

  • Egypt
  • Spain
  • Argentina
  • Australia

Men. Group D:

  • Germany
  • Brazil
  • Ivory Coast
  • Saudi Arabia

Women. Group E:

  • Chile
  • Great Britain
  • Japan
  • Canada

Women. Group F:

  • China
  • Brazil
  • Zambia
  • Netherlands

Women. Group G:

  • Sweden
  • United States
  • Australia
  • New Zealand

Brazil and Germany are current champions of men’s and women’s competitions, respectively.

Tennis Olympic tournament in 2021

In Olympic tennis, 172 competitors from 42 nations will play at the Ariake Tennis Park from July 24 to August 1. The largest number of athletes were announced by the United States and Japan (11), and on the other hand, 11 countries announced 1 competitor only.

There are 5 events in this sport discipline:

  • Men’s singles
  • Women’s singles
  • Men’s doubles
  • Women’s doubles
  • Mixed doubles

The United States received the largest number of medals in 2016, at the previous Olympic tennis tournament in Rio (3). USA won the mixed doubles, and Great Britain championed the men’s singles. Monica Puig from Puerto Rico won the women’s singles, while Spain and Russia received gold medals in the men’s and women’s doubles, respectively.

At the Olympic tennis tournament in 2021, singles will start from the Round of 64, women’s and men’s doubles — from the Round of 32, and mixed — from the Round of 16.

Basketball Olympic tournament in 2021

There are 352 competitors from 24 nations taking part in 4 basketball events.

Men’s and women’s tournaments will take place from July 25 to August 8 at the Saitama Super Arena, in Tokyo, Japan. The 3x3 tournament will take place from July 24 to July 28 at the Aomi Urban Sports Park.

The most successful national team, current champions USA, will feature in 3 events: men’s main tournament, women’s main tournament and women’s 3x3 event. Only the host country, Japan, will take part in each of the 4 competitions, and 13 countries will play in 1 event only.

Male and female main events will start in 3 groups: 2 teams from each group and 2 best third-place teams will qualify for the knockout stage. 3x3 events will start from 1 group: first 2 teams will qualify for the semis, whereas the next 4 will proceed to the quarter-finals.

Boxing Olympic tournament in 2021

More than 200 сompetitors from 76 nations will compete within 13 events at Ryogoku Kokugikan from July 24 to August 8.

Men’s Olympic boxing weights:

  • Flyweight
  • Featherweight
  • Lightweight
  • Welterweight
  • Middleweight
  • Light heavyweight
  • Heavyweight
  • Super heavyweight

Women’s Olympic boxing weights:

  • Flyweight
  • Featherweight
  • Lightweight
  • Welterweight
  • Middleweight

Each event will start from the Round of 32.

Uzbekistan received the largest number of medals in the previous Boxing Olympics tournament in 2016, whereas Cuba and France finished in second.

Tokyo 2021 Olympic schedule with timetables

The full event starts on July 21 and finishes on August 8. Schedules for men’s and women’s tournaments in football, basketball and tennis singles are below.

Men’s Olympic football schedule with timetable (GMT time zone)


07:30 a.m.: Egypt — Spain

08:00 a.m.: Mexico — France

08:00 a.m.: New Zealand — Republic of Korea

08:30 a.m.: Ivory Coast — Saudi Arabia

10:30 a.m.: Argentina — Australia

11:00 a.m.: Japan — South Africa

11:00 a.m.: Honduras — Romania

11:30 a.m.: Brazil — Germany


07:30 a.m.: Egypt — Argentina

08:00 a.m.: France — South Africa

08:00 a.m.: New Zealand — Honduras

08:30 a.m.: Brazil — Ivory Coast

10:30 a.m.: Australia — Spain

11:00 a.m.: Japan — Mexico

11:00 a.m.: Romania — Republic of Korea

11:30 a.m.: Saudi Arabia — Germany


08:00 a.m.: Germany — Ivory Coast

08:00 a.m.: Saudi Arabia — Brazil

08:30 a.m.: Romania — New Zealand

08:30 a.m.: Republic of Korea — Honduras

11:00 a.m.: Spain — Argentina

11:00 a.m.: Australia — Egypt

11:30 a.m.: South Africa — Mexico

11:30 a.m.: France — Japan


08:00 a.m.: Quarter-final 1

09:00 a.m.: Quarter-final 2

10:00 a.m.: Quarter-final 3

11:00 a.m.: Quarter-final 4


08:00 a.m.: Semi-final 1

11:00 a.m.: Semi-final 2


11:00 a.m.: Third-place fixture


11:30 a.m.: Final

Women’s Olympic football schedule with timetable (GMT time zone)


07:30 a.m.: Great Britain — Chile

08:00 a.m.: China — Brazil

08:30 a.m.: Sweden — United States

10:30 a.m.: Japan — Canada

11:00 a.m.: Zambia — Netherlands

11:30 a.m.: Australia — New Zealand


07:30 a.m.: Chile — Canada

08:00 a.m.: China — Zambia

10:30 a.m.: Japan — Great Britain

11:00 a.m.: Netherlands — Brazil

11:30 a.m.: New Zealand — United States


08:00 a.m.: New Zealand — Sweden

08:00 a.m.: United States — Australia

11:00 a.m.: Canada — Great Britain

11:00 a.m.: Chile — Japan

11:30 a.m.: Brazil — Zambia

11:30 a.m.: Netherlands — China


08:00 a.m.: Quarter-final 1

08:00 a.m.: Quarter-final 2

10:00 a.m.: Quarter-final 3

11:00 a.m.: Quarter-final 4


08:00 a.m.: Semi-final 1

11:00 a.m.: Semi-final 2


11:00 a.m.: Third-place fixture


11:30 a.m.: Final

Olympic tennis singles schedule with timetable (GMT time zone)


11 a.m.: Men’s and women’s Round of 64


11 a.m.: Men’s and women’s Round of 64


11 a.m.: Men’s and women’s Round of 32


11 a.m.: Men’s Round of 32

11 a.m.: Women’s Round of 16


11 a.m.: Men’s Round of 16

11 a.m.: Women’s Quarterfinals


11 a.m.: Men’s Quarterfinals

11 a.m.: Women’s Semis


Noon: Men’s Semis


Noon: Men’s Bronze

Noon: Women’s Bronze and Final


Noon: Men’s Final

Olympic basketball schedule with timetable (GMT time zone)


Men’s group stage


Men’s and women’s group stage


Women’s group stage


Men’s group stage


Men’s and women’s group stage


Women’s group stage


Men’s group stage


Men’s and women’s group stage


Women’s group stage


Men’s quarterfinals


Women’s quarterfinals


Men’s semis


Women’s semis


Men’s bronze and final

Women’s bronze


Women’s final

How to watch 2021 Olympics live stream: TV channels, video streaming, apps

There are quite a few online platforms and channels, where you can watch 2021 Olympics:

  1. Roku, the official NBC Universal partner in Olympiad broadcasting.
  2. YouTube TV, offering you a lot of Olympic sporting events to enjoy in recording.
  3. Hulu, a streaming service, which includes a lot of channels with different content, including Olympic events.
  4. Amazon Fire TV, which has rights to broadcast the 2021 Olympics. You may watch the Olympic Games on Amazon with a subscription.
  5. FuboTV, broadcasting the NBC channel.
  6. Sling TV, letting you watch the Olympics with the Sling Blue package + Sports Extra.

Countries and athletes with most Olympic medals in history

The United States, expectedly, is the most successful team in Olympics history.

American athletes received 2,828 medals in total and 1,127 gold medals.The United States has set a record too with the largest number of medals in a single event. On that occasion they received 239 medals, 83 of them were gold.

Their main rival is Russia with 1,911 medals (726 of them being gold).

Third on the list is Germany: athletes from this country brought home 1,754 medals with 578 being gold.

Great Britain and France are holding the 4th and 5th places, respectively, on this list — with 883 and 840 medals in total, along with 274 and 252 gold awards.

Michael Phelps, USA swimmer, is the most successful Olympic athlete in the world. He has received 5 silver and bronze medals in total along with 23 gold awards. His record is unlikely to be broken anytime soon.

Larisa Latynina, USSR gymnast, has received 18 medals, 50% of them are gold. Larisa is the best Olympic athlete of this country, non-existent at the moment, and the second best in the world.

Paavo Nurmi is the best runner and third best Olympic athlete in the world. This athlete from Finland has won 12 medals, 75% of them being gold, in the athletics competitions.

Tokyo 2021 Olympics FAQ

What is start date of 2021 Olympic Games?

The 2021 Olympic Games will start on 21 July 2021, with the official starting date being July 23. On the first day of the competitions football and softball matches will be held.

When is Olympics opening ceremony and how to watch it?

The Olympics opening ceremony will start on 23 July 2021 at 11 a.m. and finish at 1.30 p.m. GMT. You may watch the ceremony with such services as Roku, Hulu, Amazon Fire TV, Sling TV, FuboTV and NBC, or the recording of it on YouTube TV.

How to watch Olympics closing ceremony?

You may watch the closing ceremony of the Tokyo 2021 Olympics with the same services as the opening ceremony.

When is Olympics closing ceremony?

The Olympics closing ceremony starts on 8 August 2021 at 11 a.m. and finishes at 1.30 p.m. GMT.

Will esports feature at 2021 Olympics in Tokyo?

No, unfortunately we will not see esports events at the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo.

Are Olympic Games held every year?

The Summer Olympic Games are held once every 4 years, as well as the Winter Olympics. So overall one can say that competitions are held once every 2 years by the Committee.

What is International Olympics Day?

International Olympics Day is celebrated on June 23 every year. It is the date when the modern Olympic Games were held for the first time.

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