Below is an overview of the biggest storylines expected for each day of the Tokyo Olympics. With over 300 medal events being contested, your viewing options are practically endless, but these are the headline attractions you definitely won't want to miss.
Day -2: Wednesday, July 21
The first Olympic competition takes place in Fukushima, an area still recovering from a 2011 nuclear disaster, with a series of softball matches. Host nation Japan plays Australia in the opener, then two-time Olympian Cat Osterman leads the United States against Italy. Two years after winning the World Cup, the U.S. Women's National Team begins its drive for Olympic gold with its first match of group-stage play in the women’s soccer tournament, a matchup against the Sweden team that knocked the U.S. out of the last Olympics.
Day -1: Thursday, July 22
The men’s soccer tournament gets underway with all 16 teams in action, including Brazil vs. Germany in a rematch of the 2016 gold medal final. Elsewhere the U.S. plays Canada in its second softball match.
Day 0: Friday, July 23
The Games of the XXXII Olympiad officially begin with the Opening Ceremony. This highly anticipated event will be the first major global gathering since the start of the pandemic, and NBC will have a live morning broadcast of it for the first time ever.
Day 1: Saturday, July 24
The USWNT plays New Zealand in its second group-stage match of the women’s soccer tournament, and the U.S. faces Mexico in softball. The first medals of these Olympic Games are awarded in women’s air rifle shooting. American Ginny Thrasher won that event in 2016 but won’t defend her title in Tokyo.
Day 2: Sunday, July 25
The U.S. men’s basketball team takes to the court for the first time to face France, a team which could include star Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert. Skateboarding makes its Olympic debut with the men’s street contest. American Nyjah Huston is one of the top skaters in that discipline.
Day 3: Monday, July 26
Katie Ledecky potentially has her first chance at a medal in Tokyo with the women’s 400m freestyle final. In another key swimming race, rising star Caeleb Dressel could be part of the U.S. team for the men’s 4x100m freestyle relay. Skateboarding continues with the women’s street competition.
Day 4: Tuesday, July 27
The U.S., led by Simone Biles, looks to win its third straight gold medal in the women’s gymnastics team event, and the softball tournament wraps up with the gold medal game. The U.S. won three straight gold medals in softball before losing to Japan in 2008 when the sport was last on the Olympic program.
Day 5: Wednesday, July 28
This is a busy day for Katie Ledecky. If all goes to plan, she could be racing in two finals (200m and 1500m freestyle) in the same session. Elsewhere, medal matches are held for the first-ever Olympic tournament in basketball 3x3 for both men and women.
Day 6: Thursday, July 29
Simone Biles is the heavy favorite in the women’s all-around gymnastics final as she looks to defend her title. Caeleb Dressel has a shot at his first Olympic individual gold medal with the men’s 100m freestyle final, an event in which he is the two-time reigning world champion.
Day 7: Friday, July 30
Swimming competition includes the women’s 100m freestyle final. Five years ago, Simone Manuel tied for the win in this race to become the first Black female to win an individual gold medal in swimming, and she now enters Tokyo as the two-time reigning world champion in this event. The knockout stage begins in women’s soccer with the quarterfinals. In rowing, the women’s eight final could see the U.S. challenging for a fourth straight gold medal.
Day 8: Saturday, July 31
Katie Ledecky attempts to defend her title in the women’s 800m freestyle final, and world record-holder Caeleb Dressel is the current favorite for the men’s 100m butterfly final. Mixed-gender relays make their Olympic debuts in both swimming and track & field. In tennis, the gold medal match is held for women’s singles and could potentially feature Japan’s own Naomi Osaka.
Day 9: Sunday, August 1
For the first time since 2004, a men’s 100m track final is run without Usain Bolt. American Noah Lyles could be in the mix for that one. Simone Biles will look to defend her Olympic title in the women’s vault final, while the final night of swimming competition provides another golden opportunity for reigning world champions Caeleb Dressel and Simone Manuel in the men’s and women’s 50m freestyle finals. This action-packed day also includes the final round of the men’s golf tournament, the men’s singles final for tennis, and the first-ever BMX freestyle final.
Day 10: Monday, August 2
Gymnastics individual competition continues with the floor exercise. Defending gold medalist Simone Biles and 2017 world silver medalist Jade Carey are among the expected U.S. entrants. Track & field action features the women’s 100m hurdles, an event that the U.S. swept in 2016 and could do again in Tokyo. Five-time world champion Adeline Gray is favored to reach the women's 76kg wrestling final and win her first Olympic gold. If the USWNT reaches the semifinal round, they would play on this day with a spot in the women’s soccer gold medal match on the line.
Day 11: Tuesday, August 3
The final night of gymnastics features the women’s balance beam final, an event in which Simone Biles earned bronze in 2016. The men’s 400m hurdles, expected to feature three of the top four runners on the world-record list, could arguably be the most exciting track & field event in Tokyo. The knockout stage in men’s basketball begins with quarterfinal games.
Day 12: Wednesday, August 4
A new gold medalist will be crowned in the men’s 200m sprint, and reigning world champion Noah Lyles is the current frontrunner. Another notable track event is the women’s 400m hurdles, which could feature a showdown between defending Olympic gold medalist Dalilah Muhammad and 21-year-old Sydney McLaughlin. Skateboarding competition resumes with the women’s park contest and is expected to include 13-year-old (in July) British phenom Sky Brown among the headliners.
Day 13: Thursday, August 5
The semifinal games for men’s basketball are contested, with the U.S. likely taking part, and skateboarding wraps up its Olympic debut with the men’s park competition. In wrestling, the women's 57kg final could feature Helen Maroulis going for her second Olympic title. She made history in 2016 by defeating a Japanese legend to become the first U.S. woman to win wrestling gold.
Day 14: Friday, August 6
The women’s soccer tournament culminates in the gold medal match. Should they reach the final, the U.S. could become the first country to win Olympic gold following a Women’s World Cup victory. The gold medal match is also held for women’s beach volleyball. Two-time Olympic medalist April Ross and new partner Alix Klineman enter Tokyo as one of the sport’s top pairings. Over on the track, the men’s 4x100m relay will offer a chance at redemption for the U.S. after it lost out on a medal due to disqualification in 2016.
Day 15: Saturday, August 7
Men’s basketball wraps up with the gold medal game. Since NBA players began competing in 1992, Team USA has won the tournament at six out of seven Olympics. Men’s soccer and baseball also hold their final games on this day, while the gold medal match in women’s water polo could see the U.S. playing for its third straight Olympic title. Track & field competition includes the men’s and women’s 4x400m relay finals, where the U.S. women are aiming for a seventh consecutive gold medal. And a potential showdown between two 2016 gold medalists, American Kyle Snyder and Russian Abdulrashid Sadulaev, in the men's 97kg freestyle final could provide an exciting climax to wrestling competition.
Day 16: Sunday, August 8
The women’s basketball final could feature the U.S. going for a seventh straight gold medal, and the men’s marathon is the final medal event for track & field. Then the Closing Ceremony officially brings the Tokyo Olympic Games to an end.
Key dates on the Road to Tokyo
A schedule of notable events taking place in the 100 days leading up to the Tokyo Olympic Games. Many of these events will have a direct impact on determining which athletes qualify to compete in Tokyo.