One year later than expected, the 2020 Olympics will take place this summer from Japan. Here’s all you need to know to prepare for the most watched sporting event in the world.
The Games of the XXXII Olympiad: officially the 2020 Summer Olympics
Friday, July 23, 2021 through Sunday, August 8, 2021
The XXXII Olympiad will host 339 events in 33 sports. The Games were originally scheduled for the summer of 2020, but postponed by the global pandemic. The event will still officially be called the 2020 Olympics, though they were pushed back one year. It is expected that 205 countries will participate.
On television in the U.S., the Olympic Games will be covered exclusively by NBC and NBC Sports and broadcast on the NBC Network.
For online access to programming, most coverage will be available on NBCOlympics.com as well as through the NBC Sports app (free for download via iTunes and the Google App Store). Mobile and computer users will need an NBC login (available through a cable TV subscription, NBC.com online subscription, or Peacock subscription) to view broadcasts.
As they did in 2018, NBC will broadcast the opening and closing ceremonies, as well as the events live, with limited tape delay packaged for viewers each night in prime time.
- As the games approach, check your favorite sportsbook under “Olympics” or the “Other Sports” category to see which sports have odds.
- There is a 13-hour time difference between the eastern time zone of the United States and Japan. Tokyo is in GMT +9. New York and the EST in the U.S. is in GMT -4. There is a 14-hour time difference between Tokyo and Chicago, and a 16-hour difference between San Francisco or Los Angeles and Tokyo. Take this into account when planning your bets on the XXXII Olympic Games.
- Many team sports will have medal qualifying rounds, such as soccer and basketball. Pay attention to the matchups and the team records, as some teams who have secured a position may not be competing at the same sense of urgency as others.
Be aware of special prop bets that most sportsbooks will offer on the overall competition, such as:
- The overall medal and gold medal leaders by country
- The total number of medals from any given country
- The total combined score of two football (soccer) teams
- The total score of the winner for an individual gymnastics event
- The total number of gold medals (over/under) by a specific athlete
New And Returning Sports For The 2021 Olympics
There will be 33 sports for medal competition in Tokyo, with more than 330 events. Swimming alone has 36 competitions combined (for men and women).
A few new sports that will be competing for medals for the first time are BMX Freestyle, 3-on-3 basketball, surfing, skateboarding, sport climbing, and karate.
Of note for U.S. fans: both baseball and softball return to the Olympics as medal sports in 2021. They were last played at the Olympic level in 2008. The Olympic Committee removed both sports citing the fact that the best players in the world rarely participated. In 2021, the USA National Baseball Team will feature a mix of top minor league players and former major league players who are unsigned free agents. Former MLB All-Stars Todd Frazier, Edwin Jackson, Matt Kemp, and David Robertson are on the roster. The team will be managed by former Angels’ skipper Mike Scioscia. Because the games will be played in the summer, the top collegiate female softball players will participate for the Women’s U.S. National Softball Team.
Top U.S. Athletes To Keep An Eye On
Simon Biles, gymnastics
Biles already has four Olympic Gold Medals, but some think she has a chance to become the first gymnast to win five at one Olympiad. In 2016 she won Gold in all-around, vault, floor, and team competition. This time she is also favored to win the top prize in beam. If she does, Biles, who hails from Texas, will become the most decorated gymnast in history.
Caeleb Dressel, swimming
He’s not Michael Phelps (who can be?), but Dressel is the next great American splasher. He won eight medals at the 2018 World Championships and seven at the 2017 Worlds. If he can take the Gold in that many events in the Olympics he would join Phelps and Mark Spitz as the only swimmers to win more than six at one Olympic Games.
Katie Ledecky, swimming
A Maryland native, Ledecky has a brilliant All-American smile, and she already has five gold medals in her trophy case. The favorite in the four traditional events. with the addition of the women’s 1500-meter freestyle to the program, Ledecky could become first female to win five golds in one Olympics.
Noah Lyles, sprints
The dynamic Lyles is a medal contender in the 100-meter, 200-meter and 4×100-meter relay. If he can sweep those events for Gold, Lyles would match the feat (but maybe not the feet) or Usain Bolt. Lyles, who is from Gainesville, Florida, is a buoyant competitor who is sure to draw attention from viewers when his events are on air. He’s also confident:
“I have complete faith that I’m going to be ready when the time comes,” Lyles told reporters after competing in a sprinting event in Boston earlier this year.
Megan Rapinoe, soccer
The 35-year old superstar is the face of her sport in the U.S., and she already has one gold medal and two World Cup victories as a winger for the Americans. In 2021, she’ll try to earn a place on the roster for the U.S. National team once again, and if she makes it, she would have a chance to be a veteran leader. But Rapinoe, who currently plays professionally for Seattle in the U.S., still has power in her feet, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see her make an impact on the pitch in Tokyo as the U.S. defends its Olympic gold medal.
David Boudia, diving
While diving is not as popular with the average U.S. sports fan as some of the others where American’s are expected to go for gold, Boudia’s story is compelling. Three years ago, Boudia suffered a concussion after a frightening training dive in February 2018, when he plummeted into the pool head-first from the height of a three-story building. Boudia is now a favorite in the springboard events, and a fifth gold (he won four on the platform events in London in 2016) would tie him with legendary Greg Louganis.